When Americans talk about transportation problems, they generally focus on traffic. Snarled highways, difficult commutes and gridlocked businesses and commercial districts add to driver frustration. Yet there is a more serious problem involving American’s roads: motor vehicle crashes and vehicle-related injuries and fatalities.
In the first half of 2016, an estimated 17,775 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents an increase of about 10.4 percent as compared with the first half of 2015. In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2.44 million people were injured.
Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2016, September). Early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities for the first half (Jan–Jun) of 2016
Other sobering facts:
- Each year, motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $242 billion in medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages.
- About 90 people die from vehicle crashes each day in the U.S.— resulting in the highest death rate among comparison countries, one fatality every 16 minutes.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes of death in Americans younger than 30. (Source)
- Traffic crashes are a public health challenge, killing more children and young adults than any other single cause in the United States. While vast improvements in traffic safety have been made over the last few decades, there remains much work to be done.
- Traffic crashes and other safety-related disruptions actually cost us more at the societal level than traffic congestion.
- The 2011 AAA’s “Crashes vs. Congestion – What’s the Cost to Society?” report highlights the overwhelming and far-reaching economic impacts traffic-safety crashes have on our nation and encourages policymakers at all levels of government to ensure safety is a top priority.
- The report calculates the cost of crashes for the same metropolitan areas covered by the well-known Urban Mobility Report conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute. The annual societal cost of traffic crashes is $299.5 billion, more than three times the $97.7 billion cost of congestion, according to a report released by AAA.
- Safety improvements can reduce human tragedy, economic impact and congestion. About half of all congestion is “non-recurrent” ― not due to a physical reason such as bottlenecks or rush-hour traffic. Non-recurrent congestion is usually due to crashes ― and crashes are preventable.