The latest estimation of the economic costs of traffic crashes was done in 20003
. The cost of motor
vehicle crashes that occurred in 2000 totaled USD 230.6 billion. This is equal to approximately USD 820 for every person living in the United States and 2.3 per cent of the U.S. Gross Domestic
Product. Included in these losses are lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court costs, emergency service costs, insurance administration costs, travel delay, property damage, and
workplace losses. The economics costs are calculated based on a human capital approach.
The costs are based on crash severity level – the cost of fatal crashes, injury crashes and property damage-only crashes.
In 1990, there were approximately 184 million registered motor vehicles in the U.S. and vehicle ownership rate was close to 0.74 vehicles per capita. Since then, except for the year 1992, the
number of registered vehicles had grown steadily to over 259 million in 2008, with an ownership rate exceeding 0.85 vehicles per capita. Even though the number of registered vehicles was down for
years 2009 and 2010, the latest 265.6 million registered vehicles for 2012 indicates the total number of vehicle registered is on the rise again and has surpassed the high reached in 2008.
Travel as measured by vehicle mile travelled (VMT) indicated that in 1990, total VMT was approximately 2 144 362 million miles; and by 2007, VMT reached its peak of 3 031 124 million
miles. From 1990 to 2007, VMT had grown at an annual average compound growth rate of approximately 1.02%. For year 2008, total VMT was down to 2 976 528 million miles. The latest 2012
VMT data, which was 2 954 394 million miles, is still below the 2007 peak.
Change in the number of fatalities and injury crashes (1990-2012)
In the first decade of the 21st century, the United States experienced more than 40 000 deaths and more than 2 500 000 injuries on the Nation’s roadways. Roadway crashes generally are the leading
cause of death for Americans for every age, from 3 through 34.
Between 1990 and 2012, the number of fatalities decreased by 25%; however, most of the progress was achieved from 2006 through 2011. During the 1990s, there was little progress in terms of
reductions in the number of casualties. Traffic fatalities have been declining steadily since reaching a near-term peak in 2005, and the reduction accelerated in 2008 and 2009. The magnitude of decline
decreased in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the US experienced the first increase in fatalities since 2005, and from 2011 to 2012 there was a 3.3 per cent increase.
The reduction in fatalities in 2008-2011 may be partly explained by a reduction in distance travelled
(vehicle miles travelled lower than in 2007), as a consequence of the economic recession; but the overall decline in fatalities has been much greater than the reduction in traffic volume, thus assuming
that the recent safety measures promoted by the US DoT have been effective. The increase in 2012 cannot be attributed to a single factor. However, one note of interest is that of the increase of 1082 fatalities in 2012, with 72% of the increase occurring in the first quarter of the year. That quarter also happened to be the warmest first quarter on record in the US.
The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fell to a historic low of 1.10 in 2011. In 2012 the rate was 1.13.
In 2012, the death rate expressed in terms of deaths per 100 000 population, was 10.69 ‒ a 2.6% increase from 2011.
Between 1990 and 2012, the death rate, expressed in terms of deaths per 100 000 population, decreased by 40%; while the risks (in terms of deaths per billion veh-km) declined by 45%.
Since 1990, all road users except motorcycle riders have benefited from the improvement in road safety. Motorcycle rider fatalities (incl. mopeds) increased by more than 50% between 1990 and 2012.
Between 1990 and 2012, the United States experienced a marked reduction of almost 50% in passenger car occupant fatalities. A further reduction in passenger car occupant fatalities is expected
with increased availability of front and side airbags, electronic stability control, safety-belt use, use of age-appropriate child safety seats and a continued reduction in alcohol- and drug-impaired driving.
Over the same period, the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes decreased by 27% and 16% respectively.
Over the past ten years, data show that the composition of fatalities among road users has shifted.
The primary change occurred because of the decrease in passenger car occupant fatalities from 2000 to 2012 — from 20 699 fatalities in 2000, to 12 271 in 2012. However, there has been a marked
change in composition of road user fatalities for motorcyclists and pedestrians. Fatalities for these two groups combined increased from 2000 to 2012 — from 7 660 to 9 660 — and they now make up 29%
of fatalities compared to 18% of fatalities ten years ago.
As noted, motorcyclist fatalities have been increasing over the previous years. Fatalities fell sharply in 2009, along with a sharp decrease in roadway fatalities overall. However, since that drop, the number of people killed on motorcycles (including mopeds) has resumed the increase that had been occurring since the late 1990s.
Looking at the age of the individuals killed during motor vehicle crashes, all fatality rates have dropped since 1990. Young people aged 18 to 20 had long maintained the highest fatality rate per
population, but for the first time in 2010, this age group fell to the second highest fatality rate, replaced by 21 to 24 year olds. Another decline in fatality rates can be seen (in the chart) for 15 to
17 year olds – once the third highest rate is now the fifth highest rate.
The Department has been working diligently to address the safety risk of young drivers. This group, lacking the experience acquired over time, often pose a greater safety risk on the road. However,
over the years, with the attention to young drivers and the introduction of graduated driver licensing, the fatalities associated with young drivers has decreased, as can be seen below. In 2003, there were 8 514 fatalities associated with young driver (16-20 years old) crashes as compared to 4 565 fatalities in young driver crashes in 2012.
Whereas there was an increase in most areas from 2011 to 2012, data show a decrease in the number of fatalities occurring on motorways in 2012.
Road Safety – Annual Report 2014
Road crashes in 2012:
Motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in 2012 increased after six consecutive years of declining fatalities on the US nation’s highways. The nation lost 33 561 people in crashes on roadways during 2012,
compared to 32 479 in 2011. The increase in crashes, and the resulting fatalities and injuries, can be seen across many crash characteristics – vehicle type, alcohol impairment, location of crash, etc. – and does not seem to be associated with any one particular issue. In fact, crashes associated with some traditional risk factors, fell in 2012. For example, young drivers involved in fatal crashes
continued to decline, as they have since 2005. Despite the general downward trend in overall fatalities in recent years, pedestrian and motorcycle fatalities have shown an upward trend. This was
again the case in 2012, as motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities increased by six percent each.
Provisional data for 2013:
A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2013 shows that an estimated 24 270 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decrease of about 3.7 per cent
as compared to the 25 214 fatalities that were reported to have occurred in the first nine months of 2012.
Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles travelled (VMT) in the first nine months of 2013 increased by about 9.8 billion miles, an increase of
approximately 0.4 per cent.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is continuing to gather data on crash fatalities for 2012 and 2013 using information from police accident reports and other sources. While it is too soon
to speculate on the contributing factors or potential implications of any changes in deaths on our roadways, it should be noted that the historic downward trend in traffic fatalities in the past several
years means any comparison will be to an unprecedented low baseline figure.
Road Safety – Annual Report 2014
Inhabitants: 311.6 million
Vehicles/1 000 – inhabitants: 846
Road fatalities in 2012: 33 561
Fatalities /100 000 in habitants in 2012: 10.7
The State Police collect data on motor vehicle traffic crashes on specific roadways in the State. Each State also has local police jurisdictions within counties, cities and towns that collect data on motorvehicle traffic crashes on the roadways not covered by the State Police.
The NASS (National Automotive Sampling System) consists of 2 sub-systems: the General Estimates System (GES) and the Crashworthiness Data System (CDS).
Both sub-systems are probabilistic surveys designed to produce national estimates on motor vehicle traffic crashes annually.
The CDS is a nationally representative sample of police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in which at least one light motor vehicle (automobile, automobile derivative, minivans, vans, pickup
trucks, and sport utility vehicles) was towed from the crash scene as a result of the crash.
The GES is a nationally representative sample of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes occurring across the United States, designed to produce national estimates on general characteristics
of motor vehicle traffic crashes.
In particular, the (GES) data are obtained through a sample selected from all police-reported motor vehicle crashes. Although various sources suggest that about half the motor vehicle crashes in the
country are not reported to police, the majority of these unreported crashes involve only minor property damage and no significant personal injury. By restricting attention to police-reported
crashes, the GES concentrates on those crashes of greatest concern to the highway safety community and the general public.
Approximately 90 data elements are coded into a common format. To protect individual privacy, no personal information (names, addresses, specific crash locations) is coded.
Strengths of the system:
• obtaining information on all types of motor vehicle traffic crashes that can aid policy makers in enhancing safety standards in the motor vehicle;
• can produce national estimates on a characteristics of the crash.
IRTAD 2014 Annual Report © OECD/ITF 2014 United States – 507
• the PAR may not be completed when it is obtained by the GES, therefore some of the information may not be available on the PAR;
• access to the PARs is dependent on the cooperation of the police jurisdictions.
Challenges collecting at the federal level is obtaining and maintaining cooperation with the police jurisdictions (State and local).
In the GES, serious injuries are defined as incapacitating injuries which are defined as severe lacerations (exposure of muscles or bone), broken or distorted extremities, crush injuries, internal
skull/chest/abdominal injuries, significant burns, unconscious, and paralysis.
MAIS 3+ injuries are coded in the CDS, not the GES, and are defined as serious injuries.
Road Safety – Annual Report 2014
Distracted driving laws focus on the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. Each state in the US sets its own laws regarding distracted driving. As of April 2014, 12 States and the District of
Columbia (DC) prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Thirty-seven States and DC ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. Forty-three States and DC ban text messaging for all
In 2012, 3 328 people were killed on U.S. roadways, and an estimated additional 421 000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving (FARS and
GES). Of those people killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 415 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (12% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). Of those injured in distracteddriving-related crashes, 28 000 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (7% of injured people in distraction-related crashes). Ten percent of fatal crashes and 17 percent of the injury crashes in
2012 involved reports of distracted driving.
• The Department and NHTSA continue to focus on distracted driving and its deadly consequences. There are several resources available to the public, communities, States and safety organisations, including a redesigned www.distraction.gov.
In April 2014, the DOT announced the Department’s first-ever, national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving.
The effort includes television, radio and digital advertisements using the phrase U Drive. U Text. U Pay. and coincides with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states with distracted driving bans. In addition, a social norming component, One Text or Call Could Wreck It All, was launched in late 2011 with a television ad and other supporting materials.
All of the PSAs direct audiences to StopTextsStopWrecks.org, a
new campaign website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving, and tips for how to curb the behaviour. The website also has an area where individuals can post on Facebook and share their solutions to stop texting and driving.
By Guest Author: Keith Kofsky:
According to a CNN.com report, the riskiest jobs in America include delivery drivers. These types of jobs include pizza and Chinese food delivery, which are sometimes lower-paying jobs; however, they also include higher paying jobs, like package delivery drivers. Roughly 38 out of every 100,000 drivers dies each year in this type of work.
While fatal traffic accidents account for a majority of deaths, 25 percent of delivery drivers die in robberies and assaults. If you work in the delivery business, learn how to protect yourself. Most assailants strike in one of three ways:
- Hiding around residential areas while waiting for delivery drivers to arrive.
- Following drivers as they leave businesses to make their deliveries.
- Setting up a fake delivery, and then ambushing the driver when they arrive.
Take Self-Defense Classes
Everyone should know self-defense, especially delivery drivers. You don’t have to become a Karate master, but you should know how to take care of yourself in any situation. Self-defense comes in many different forms, with most of the effective classes focusing on self and situational awareness. Self-defense can teach you to be aware of your surroundings. Fighting should be your last resort, but having some tools can help you think of solutions instead of panicking.
Keep Your Vehicle in Good Working Order
By keeping your vehicle in good working order, you avoid the types of situations that make you vulnerable to an attack or carjacking. Reduce your risk of breaking down in an unfamiliar area, or being stranded on the side of the road. Even highways aren’t safe for stranded drivers. It is also important to make sure you understand how to drive in any type of weather. For more information on driving in poor weather, check out this article by the Philly Car Accident Guys.
Only Deliver to Known Addresses and Locations
Only deliver to known addresses or locations. Some shops, like Aunt Polly’s Pizza, won’t deliver to an address unless it’s known. They also request customers keep lights on at night and welcome the delivery person. If you’re delivering flowers, packages or even pizza, it’s worth it to ask your boss to implement a similar policy.
More Things Business Owners Can Do
Business owners should establish clear rules and procedures for all delivery drivers. Here are some things bosses can do to ensure driver safety:
- Always ask for a call back number from every delivery customer, and verify that number before the delivery.
- Keep a list of all customers that order delivery service, and post the order of deliveries in a visible area for drivers to view before deliveries.
- Adopt a credit card only policy for all deliveries, or at least for deliveries after dark.
- Post signs on all delivery vehicles that read: “Drivers carry no cash. Orders payable by credit card only.”
- Print the rules for delivery on your take out menus, so customers know them.
- Allow your drivers to wear street clothes, instead of uniforms marking them as delivery persons.
- Avoid sending delivery drivers out late at night.
- If they take cash, have drivers stop off between deliveries to drop off.
- Don’t encourage drivers to carry a weapon, because a criminal could use it against them.
- Equip all drivers with cell phones having 9-1-1 on speed dial.
Extra Steps Delivery Drivers Can Take
There are several things delivery drivers can do to be safer in their work, including:
- Don’t deliver to a house that looks empty or dark. Call the customer and ask them to put the lights on and/or meet you outside.
- If anything looks or feels wrong to you, don’t make the delivery. Trust your instincts. Call your boss to let them know it feels unsafe there, and either return to the store, or have someone meet you.
- Use the buddy system in notoriously unsafe areas.
- As you approach the delivery site, try to shine your headlights on the door of the building.
- Park your vehicle as close to the door as possible, and under a streetlight. Avoid parking in dark or isolated areas.
- Lock the vehicle and carry your keys.
- Never walk behind a dark building or down a dark pathway.
- If anyone approaches you, keep them at least an arm’s length distance away.
If someone robs you, stay calm and do what they tell you to do. Don’t get inside a vehicle with them if you can help it, and always assume they are armed. Try to remember helpful facts, like what the suspect and vehicle looked like, the plate number and the direction of travel. Lock yourself in your vehicle and call 9-1-1 as soon as you safely can.
Don’t go to your next delivery. Instead, remain to talk to the police, protecting evidence the perpetrator left behind. Ask witnesses to stay and help the police find the criminal before they strike again. Hopefully, you won’t experience a robbery in your work, but it’s always best to know what to do, just in case. Always consider safety first, and you’ll reduce your risks greatly.
Keith Kofsky, Esq. is an attorney at a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Kofsky is the sponsor of Philly Car Accident Guys. He enjoys sharing his legal ideas and insights through blogging.