In the United States, traffic accidents cost the public $340 billion a year, or just over $1,000 for the country’s 328 million people, according to a study by the Travel Safety Agencies.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a government agency, said it examined crashes in 2019 that killed nearly 36,500 people, injured 4.5 million and damaged nearly 23 million vehicles.
“This report underscores the devastating impact road traffic crashes have on families and the economic burden they place on society,” the agency’s acting director, Ann Carlson, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Traffic accidents are a big problem in the United States. With fatal accidents increasing exponentially in 2021, the Department of Transportation has begun work on a “safe systems approach” to reduce accidents. This approach includes safer roads, lower vehicle speeds and better post-crash care.
According to the agency, the cost of traffic accidents was 1.6% of the gross domestic product of US$ 21.4 trillion in 2019.
Research shows that people not directly involved in traffic accidents pay about 75% of the total costs of these accidents through insurance premiums, taxes, lost time due to congestion, excessive fuel consumption and environmental impacts.
The study also indicated that seat belts saved 404,000 lives between 1975 and 2019, saving an estimated $17.8 billion in social costs caused by such accidents.
Nearly 43,000 people died on US roads in 2021, the most in 16 years. The number represented a 10.5% increase over the number of crashes reported in 2020, the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began operating a fatality data collection system in 1975.
In an effort to reduce deaths, the federal government is sending $5 billion in aid to cities, towns and villages to work on projects to slow cars, create bike lanes and transfer passengers to public transportation.
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