1992 was a very good year for traffic safety. The total number of fatalities was the lowest in 30 years and on a vehicle miles traveled basis, it was the best ever. However, more than 5 million people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 1992. Half a million of these were injured seriously enough to be hospitalized and nearly 40,000 died as result of their injuries. These crashes, injuries, and fatalities cost society over $137 billion a year in lost productivity, medical costs, property damage and other direct expenditures. To put this into perspective, this amounts to about one-third of the recent annual increase in the national debt, or a decrease in the Gross Domestic Product of about 2%. In 1990, three expense categories accounted for 72% of the total costs: property damage accounted for nearly $46 billion, lost productivity for nearly $40 billion, and medical costs for over $14 billion. The remainder included insurance administration, emergency care costs, legal and court costs as well as other costs. Alcohol involved crashes accounted for $46 billion or roughly 34% of all economic costs. The deaths or injuries that occur on our Nation's highways are "not" the result of unavoidable accidents. By and large these events occur as the result of failure to take needed actions such as buckling up or preventable actions such as drunk driving. This report examines the answers to the following questions: Who pays the costs? Have highway and traffic programs made a difference? Have these programs been effective? Is there more to do? What are reasonable potential gains we could expect in the future?

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Copy of report for entry in TRIS was supplied by Richard Pain, Transportation Safety Coordinator for TRB. No cover attached, only 5 photocopied pages, stapled together.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 1993-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 5 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00628841
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 16 1993 12:00AM