"Most Americans will be surprised to learn that motor vehicle crashes
cost more than the congestion they face on their daily commute to work,"
said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. "Great work has been done
by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) to quantify the costs of
congestion, raise awareness for the problem and offer solutions. We feel
safety deserves a similar focus."
According to the study conducted by Cambridge Systematics, the $164.2
billion cost for crashes equates to an annual per person cost of $1,051,
compared to $430 per person annually for congestion. These safety costs
include medical, emergency and police services, property damage, lost
productivity, and quality of life, among other things.
The report calculates the costs of crashes for the same metropolitan
areas covered by the annual Urban Mobility Report conducted by TTI. In
every metropolitan area studied, from very large to small, the results
showed crash costs exceeded congestion. For very large urban areas (more
than 3 million), crash costs are nearly double those of congestion. Those
costs rise to more than seven times congestion costs in small urban areas
(less than 500,000) where congestion is less of a challenge.
"Nearly 43,000 people die on the nation's roadways each year," said
Darbelnet. "Yet, the annual tally of motor vehicle-related fatalities
barely registers as a blip in most people's minds. It's time for motor
vehicle crashes to be viewed as the public health threat they are. If there
were two jumbo jets crashing every week, the government would ground all
planes until we fixed the problem. Yet, we've come to accept this sort of
death toll with car crashes."
The report includes several recommendations to improve safety,
including support for a national safety goal of cutting surface
transportation fatalities in half by 2025, as recommended by the National
Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.
For additional information and to download a full copy of the report,