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Traffic crashes cost U.S. motorists nearly $300 billion yearly

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Nov. 3, 2011—The annual societal cost of traffic crashes is more than three times the annual cost of traffic congestion, according to a report release_notesd Thursday by AAA.

The annual cost of traffic crashes is $299.5 billion, compared to just $97.7 billion for traffic congestion, according to AAA. The annual cost of crashes equates to $1,522 per person, compared to $590 per person for congestion.

The cost of crashes are based on the Federal Highway Administration's comprehensive costs for traffic fatalities and injuries that assign a dollar value to a variety of components, including medical and emergency services, lost earnings and household production, property damage, and lost quality of life, according to AAA.

"Almost 33,000 people – 635 per week – die on U.S. roadways each year and that's unacceptable," said Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA. "While the decline in traffic fatalities in recent years signifies a positive trend, our work is far from over. Continued progress will require active and focused leadership, improved communication and collaboration, and an investment in data collection and evaluation to make sure we're addressing the nation's most serious safety challenges."

Due to the economic impacts of traffic crashes, AAA’s report encourages government policymakers to ensure safety is a top priority. 

"The burdens associated with congestion are top of mind for many Americans as they travel to and from work each day,” Darbelnet said. "However, at $300 billion annually, crashes cost our society more than three times the amount of congestion. This report further underscores the importance of a long-term, multi-year federal transportation bill that will provide the necessary and sustained investments that lead to better and safer roads for all Americans."

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