According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, every year vehicle crashes cost hundreds of billions of dollars in medical care, lost income, and long-term care.

Safety institutes and state officials alike often throw out numbers related to injuries and deaths due to vehicle or motorcycle crashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,000 people are killed each year in crashes, and motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of teen deaths. When it comes to numbers, you don’t hear as much about the actual cost of these accidents.

Crashes Create a Huge Economic Toll on All Americans

The U.S. Department of Transportation, noting a 2010 study, spells out just how much is spent each year for medical care, lost income, and long-term care due to auto accidents. According to the study, these accidents cost $871 billion dollars yearly in economic loss and harm. This includes $594 billion in loss of life, and pain and suffering for those who are injured in a crash but survive.

Some more staggering crash-related facts from the CDC include:

  • Each year Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital due to crash injuries.
  • In 2012, injuries due to vehicle crashes totaled $18 billion in lifetime medical costs.

While these numbers are staggering, also consider this figure – the lifetime work loss cost for 2012 accidents is estimated at $33 billion. That’s an estimate of how much a person killed in a motor vehicle accident would have earned over his or her lifetime. Researchers note that the work loss figure is extremely high because those killed in fatal crashes disproportionately are young drivers, those with the potential to contribute to the workforce for many years.

Colorado’s Auto Accident-Related Costs

Colorado is not immune to the high costs associated with car accidents. According to the CDC, $6 million is spent each year on medical costs for those who die in auto accidents in Colorado, while another $641 million is spent on work loss costs associated with these fatalities. The CDC also analyzed the monetary impact of the state’s auto accidents by type of road user:

  • $90 million on motor vehicle occupants
  • $94 million on motorcyclists
  • $86 million on pedestrians
  • $22 million on bicyclists

When it comes to work loss costs, young adults lose the most at $267 million.

Prevention Saves Lives and Money

It should come as no surprise to anyone that prevention is the best way to save lives as well as money. Seat belts, car seats, sobriety checkpoints, reducing distracted driving, and encouraging safer driving behavior for everyone are just some of the ways to reducing accidents and the pain and suffering associated with them.

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