Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries
Costly but Preventable
Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital each year from crash injuries.
Crash injuries in 2012 totaled $18 billion in lifetime medical costs. More than 75% of costs occur during the first 18 months following the crash injury.
Lifetime work lost because of 2012 crash injuries cost an estimated $33 billion.
More than 2.5 million Americans went to the emergency department (ED)—and nearly 200,000 were then hospitalized—for crash injuries in 2012. On average, each crash-related ED visit costs about $3,300 and each hospitalization costs about $57,000 over a person's lifetime. The best way to keep people safe and reduce medical costs is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place. But if a crash does occur, many injuries can still be avoided through the use of proven interventions. More can be done at every level to prevent crashes and reduce injuries, but state-level changes are especially effective.
State officials can:
- Consider using proven interventions that increase the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; reduce drinking and driving; and improve teen driver safety.
- Support traffic safety laws with media campaigns and visible police presence, such as those used with sobriety checkpoints.
- Link medical and crash data to better understand why crashes happen, the economic cost of those crashes, and how to prevent future crashes.
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