The structure and distribution of traffic accident costs

Liikenneonnettomuuskustannusten muodostuminen ja kohdentuminen

In Finland data on traffic accidents is gathered by several quarters. In spite of that, the real number of traffic accidents is unknown and it is estimated to be multiple compared to the number in statistics. When the number of traffic accidents is known, it is possible to estimate the costs of accidents. The real costs of traffic accidents consist of both direct and indirect costs. The indirect costs form over 90% of the total costs in accidents with bodily injuries. Although the proportion of the direct costs is relatively small, it is noticed, that the more serious the accident is, the higher the direct costs are. As an exception to this is road traffic casualty, in which the victim dies immediately and, thus, does not require hospital or institutional treatment. Because, based on statistics, it is not possible to classify injuries by their seriousness, in this study the costs of injuries are examined by injury types. The highest annual costs of hospital treatment are caused by the injuries to head and lower extremities. If examined by age-groups, it can be seen that the unit costs of traffic accidents are clearly highest in the accidents of old people. The costs of traffic accidents are paid by several quarters. The single most important payer group are the insurance companies on the basis of the obligatory motor vehicle insurance. Because individuals pay the biggest share of the traffic insurance premiums and, in addition, because the guilty party pays for his/her own property damages, individuals can be regarded as the most significant payers of traffic accidents. Municipalities' and state's share of the costs of traffic accidents consists mainly of the costs resulting from the services provided in their own institutions. Other important payer groups are KELA (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland) and employers. According to estimations the traffic accident statistics cover 20-25% of all traffic accidents and, at least, cover the most serious accidents. However, even if only 20 per cent of the accidents missing from the statistics were serious, it would almost double the real costs caused by traffic accidents. The most significant result of the present study is that the data available is not sufficient enough, so that the real distribution of traffic accident costs and the actual payers of these costs could be found out. The insufficiency in compiling traffic accident statistics and the fact that the existing statistics cover only a small proportion of all traffic accidents cause a great problem to the examination of traffic accidents from the viewpoint of costs. In the area Kuusankoski there is a START-project under way which aims to prevent traffic accidents. During the START-project detailed data on traffic accidents is gathered. The success of this project would show that more accurate compiling of statistics and gathering of data is, in fact, possible, if there is enough will. However, it is important that the gathering of data is done with the co-operations of those quarters who need the data as well as with those who produce it. This way the data would be in such form, that it can be benefited by all who needs it. This report may be found at


  • Finnish

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  • Accession Number: 01094829
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • ISBN: 978-951-803-821-7
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Apr 25 2008 8:00AM