US: 36,000 died in car crashes in 2019, $340 billion lost to economy

WASHINGTON D.C.: In a landmark report released this week, US auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that motor vehicle crashes cost the US economy $340 billion in 2019.

In its comprehensive economic impact study, the Traffic Safety Administration determined the costs of a single year of crashes, which killed some 36,500 people, injured 4.5 million, and damaged 23 million vehicles.

The agency found that the crashes cost taxpayers $30 billion and society $340 billion, and if quality-of-life valuations are included, the total cost to society was $1.37 trillion, equivalent to 1.6% of economic output in the US.

Distracted driving cost $98 billion, and the costs of traffic congestion, including travel delays and added fuel usage, reached $36 billion.

In its last report in 2010, the Traffic Safety Administration estimated the total cost to society of crashes at $242 billion.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said the agency is committed to reducing deaths caused by vehicle crashes.

“We want to figure out what works. We do not want to let ourselves off the hook,” she said, as quoted by Reuters.