I just received the July 2002 copy of Professional Safety magazine (Vol. 47, No. 7, pg. 12), from the American Society of Safety Engineers. There was a very interesting article on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study. I have the study, downloaded from:
It's entitled "The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000." Here's the first paragraph of the article:
"The economic impact ofmotor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways has reached $230.6 billion a year--nearly 2.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product or an average of $820 for every person living in the country--the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports. Using data from the year 2000 (in which 41,821 people were killed, 5.3 million were injured and 27.6 million vehicles were damaged), the agency found that the average readway fatality has economic costs of $977,000, while the costs associated with a critically injured crash survivor surpasses $1 million. The yearly economic costs also include $61 billion in lost workplace productivity; $20.2 billion in lost household productivity; $59 billion in property damage; $32.6 billion in medical costs; and $25.6 billion in travel delay costs."
The article goes on to "highlight the critical issue of seat belt use. The agency estimates that seat belt use prevents 11,900 fatalities and 325,000 serious injuries--saving $50 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs. 'Conversely, the failure of crash victims to wear seat belts leads to an estimated 9,200 unnecessary fatalities and 143,000 needless injuries, costing $26 billion,' NHTSA states."
"The statistics also draw attention to another concern--alcohol-involved crashes, which caused an estimated 16,792 fatalities in 2000, as well as 513,000 nonfatal injuries--accountinf for $50.9 billion in economic casts. 'The impact of alcohol involvement increases with injury severity,' NHTSA concludes. 'Crashes linked to alcohol accounted for 46 percent of fatal injury crash costs, 21 percent of nonfatal crash costs and 10 percent of costs in crashes involving property damage only.' To abtain a copy of the report, visit www.nhsta.dot.gov."
The study itself has interesting charts, which detail the over 1 million deaths since 1975 on our nation's highways, the fatality rates (which have been going down from a high of 35.74 per 100,000 licensed drivers in 1978 to the current year 2000 rate of 21.94), and other interesting information. I would encourage those interested to download this study, by typing in "economic impact" into the NHTSA web page's search engine.
To me, this gives the bicycling community some much-needed ammo to use in discussing bicycling alternatives, and the need to spend money to get people out of cars and into a safer, saner means of travel. What are your ideas?