Baltimore Sun

CDC: Car crash costs huge, accidents preventable

The annual cost of injuries and productivity losses from crashes involving cars, motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians is now pushing $100 billion, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That amounts to nearly $500 for each U.S. licensed driver in one year, according to the study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.


The breakdown is about $70 billion for car crashes, $12 billion for motorcycles, $10 billion for pedestrians and $5 billion for bicyclists. (Data is from 2005, the most current at study time.)

"Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries, and nearly 40,000 people die from these injuries each year," said Dr. Grant Baldwin, director of CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, in a statement. "This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective, and the numbers are staggering."


The study also found that fatalities cost $58 billion, hospitalizations cost $28 billion and trips to the emergency room cost $14 billion; 70 percent of those killed and 52 percent of those hurt were men;  teens and young adults made up 28 percent of injuries but only 14 percent of the population; and motorcyclists accounted for 6 percent of deaths and injuries and 12 percent of the costs.

The CC said the deaths and injuries are preventable with such programs as graduated driver licensing policies that require teens to gain experience over time; child safety seat distribution; primary seat belt laws and enhanced enforcement; motorcycle and bike helmet laws; and sobriety checkpoints.

More information on laws and other data can be found here and informationon the CDC's efforts on motor vehicle safety is here.

So, do you buckle up?

Baltimore Sun file photo/Brendan Cavanaugh