Friday, 07 March 2008 10:31

Groundbreaking AAA report shows traffic crashes cost American motorists

Written by AAA
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The societal cost of crashes is a staggering $164.2 billion annually, nearly two and a half times greater than the $67.6 billion price tag for congestion, according to a new report released today by AAA. The report, "Crashes vs. Congestion: What's the Cost to Society?," demonstrates that traffic safety issues warrant increased attention from the public and policymakers, particularly as Congress prepares to reauthorize federal transportation programs in 2009.


"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,

visit http://www.AAA.com/news.

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