The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new study that underscores the high economic toll and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The price tag for crashes comes at a heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. This includes $277 billion in economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the United States based on calendar year 2010 data — and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.
Behavioral factors contributing to the huge price-tag of roadway crashes based on the 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles include:
- Drunk Driving: Crashes caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol accounted for 18 percent of the total economic loss due to motor vehicle crashes and cost the nation $49 billion.
- Speeding: Crashes involving a speeding vehicle traveling over the posted speed limit or too fast for conditions accounted for 21 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $59 billion.
- Distraction: Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $46 billion.
- Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 7 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $19 billion.
The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. is the equivalent of 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010. Factors contributing to the price tag include productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and the costs to employers, among others. Overall, nearly 75 percent of these costs are paid through taxes, insurance premiums, and congestion related costs such as travel delay, excess fuel consumption, and increased environmental impacts. These costs, borne by society rather than individual crash victims, totaled over $200 billion.
Good, bad or nonexistent, a customer's credit score still matters when shopping for car insurance. The impact doesn't always remain equal across geographies or insurers. That's the general finding of a new report from personal finance site WalletHub, which set out to make sense of the whole issue in its 2014 Credit Score vs. Car Insurance study. The goal was to determine how transparent insurers are being about their use of credit score information, how big of a role the data plays in underwriting decisions and how scores are impacting policy premiums on a state-by state basis. Click here to read the findings from WalletHub's study.
NO EXCUSES: Wear your Seat Belt!
Texas is part of the 13th annual "Click It or Ticket" safety effort to make sure travelers buckle up. The campaign that began Monday and runs through June 1 means law enforcement officers are ready to ticket anyone not using a seat belt. Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to wear a seat belt.
The stepped-up enforcement effort includes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Transportation and sherriff's offices statewide.
Officials say that Texas had 3,371 traffic fatalities last year, and approximately 1,500 of those motorists were not buckled up. Administration figures show wearing a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a serious crash by 45 percent.
According to results released today by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain earned top marks in a test designed to simulate one of the deadliest types of front-end collisions. The two models earned a rating of "good". Toyota Motor Corp.'s Highlander was deemed "acceptable", and the other six vehicles tested were rated marginal or poor.
The Equinox and Terrain were modified for the 2014 model year to improve their front structure and door-hinge pillars. Driver survival space stayed intact after impact, the insurance institute said. The worst performer among the tested SUV's was Honda Motor Co.'s Pilot, the institute said. Its parking-brake pedal moved forward 16 1/2 inches and the steering column moved 5 1/2 inches. Besides the Pilot, the four other SUV's to receive a "poor" rating were Mazda Motor Corp.'s CX-9, Ford Motor Co's Explorer, the Sorento made by Kia Motors Corp. and the Toyota 4Runner. Chrysler Goup LLC's Jeep Grand Cherokee was rated "marginal". Click here to read the full article.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud convicted the worst-of-the-worst as they inducted new members into the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. Inductees were either convicted or had other legal closure in 2013, and range from the audacious, to the klutzy, to the downright strange.
The Hall of Shame intends to call public attention to insurance fraud by putting a face on an $80 billion crime that many consumers consider a victimless hoax. Click here to see who made the list of the year’s biggest swindlers.