Did You Know? – The Economic and Societal Costs of Collisions
Written By: Patrick Brown and Sonam Sapra, Student-at-Law
Injuries and deaths caused by car crashes are costing us billions. Maybe it is time to save taxpayers dollars and start spending on prevention.
Thousands of people are involved in motor vehicle accidents every day. Many of these collisions result in serious injuries and fatalities. The emotional and psychological impact that these collisions have on those who have been injured and on families who have lost their loved ones is immeasurable. However, in addition to the impact on those involved, collisions also result in a significant economic and societal burden.
The Strain on Community Resources
Communities are required to mobilize their resources to deal with the aftermath of collisions. This is a costly undertaking that causes a significant strain and diverts resources away from other uses. In fact, in 2018, the total cost of motor vehicle accidents in Canada was $3.6 billion and in 2019, in the United States, the total cost was $340 billion.
Following a collision, emergency services like fire and ambulance, attend to those in need and nearby hospitals treat those who are seriously injured. In 2018, the cost of transport incidents cost the Canadian healthcare system approximately $731 million in hospitalizations and approximately $1 billion in emergency department visits.
In addition, resources also have to be allocated toward police services and coordinating cleanup efforts. Police services generally help manage a collision scene, conduct investigations, like collision reconstructions, and lay charges if need be. Cleanup efforts are shared between police, fire and the provincial government. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation for example, contracts private companies to conduct post-collision cleanups on certain highways. Overall, the strain on community resources caused by collisions is significant and encompasses direct costs of emergency services, healthcare and cleanup efforts.
A Loss of Productivity
Included in the figures for the total cost of motor vehicle accidents is a loss of productivity. A loss of productivity is an indirect cost consequence of motor vehicle accidents as individuals often have to take time off work. For example, those involved in collisions may be unable to return to work due to the severity of their injuries. In addition, collisions cause significant traffic delays which result in many having to miss work, meetings and appointments. Finally, the property damage incurred by individuals involved in collisions may hinder their ability to return to work. Ultimately, the impact of collisions on the workforce manifests in an economic loss that affects our society as a whole.
Mitigating the Cost of Collisions
All road users have a shared responsibility to minimize the costs of collisions on the economy and our society. The best way to do this is to prevent collisions from occurring in the first place. From an individual perspective, this can be accomplished by practicing safe driving habits while on the roadway. From a societal perspective, this means investing in safer infrastructure and prioritizing public transit initiatives.
How Can McLeish Orlando Help?
The personal injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando have years of experience representing individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
 Cost of Injury in Canada – Costs by Cause of Injury (July 19, 2022), Parachute < https://parachute.ca/en/professional-resource/cost-of-injury-in-canada/costs-by-cause-of-injury/>; NHTSA: Traffic Crashes Cost America $340 billion in 2019 (January 2023), NHTSA < https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/traffic-crashes-cost-america-billions-2019>
 Cost of Injury in Canada – Costs by Cause of Injury (July 19, 2022), Parachute < https://parachute.ca/en/professional-resource/cost-of-injury-in-canada/costs-by-cause-of-injury/>