According to a May 11 Press Release from the CDC (Centers for Dease Control and Prevention) titled “CDC Finds Annual Estimated Cost of U.S. Crash-Related Deaths is $41 Billion” Illinois ranks 8th in total costs among states.
“A new CDC data analysis looked at the costs of crash deaths by state and found that half of all costs were found in 10 states. The ten states with the highest medical and work loss costs were California ($4.16 billion), Texas ($3.50 billion), Florida ($3.16 billion), Georgia ($1.55 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.52 billion), North Carolina ($1.50 billion), New York ($1.33 billion), Illinois ($1.32 billion), Ohio ($1.23 billion), and Tennessee ($1.15 billion).”
The report also says that in 2005 crash deaths resulted in $41 Billion in medical and “work loss” costs. The costs are based on 2005 data, the most recent year for which data on such crash death costs is available.
“Deaths from motor vehicle crashes are preventable,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Seat belts, graduated driver’s license programs, child safety seats, and helmet use save lives and reduce health care costs.”
According to the Press Release, CDC is releasing new fact sheets highlighting state-based costs of crash deaths, to coincide with the May 11 launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a period of enhanced focus on protecting lives on the world’s roads.
“It’s tragic to hear that anyone dies on our nation’s roads. But it’s especially so when the person who loses his or her life is a child or teenager,” said Linda Degutis, Dr. P.H., M.S.N., director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Child passenger safety laws and comprehensive graduated driver licensing laws are proven to protect young lives. We encourage states to strengthen and enforce these laws to help keep more of our young people safe.”
To prevent crash-related deaths and reduce medical and work loss costs, CDC’s Injury Center recommends that states consider the following strategies:
- Primary seat belt laws, which allow motorists to be stopped and cited for not wearing seat belts. Seat belts reduce the risk of death to those riding in the front seat by about half.
- Strong child passenger safety policies, which require children to be placed in age- and size-appropriate child safety and booster seats while riding in vehicles.
- Comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems, which are proven to reduce teen crashes. GDL systems help new drivers gain experience under lower-risk conditions by granting driving privileges in stages. The most comprehensive GDL systems have been associated with up to 40 percent decreases in crashes among 16-year-old drivers.
- Universal motorcycle helmet laws, which require riders of all ages to wear helmets. Helmet use can reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by more than one-third and reduce the risk of brain injury by 69 percent.
“These preventable costs are a reflection of the terrible suffering of American families whose loved ones are killed or injured on the roads,” said Norman Mineta, chairman of Make Roads Safe North America and the longest-serving Secretary of Transportation in U.S. history. “Today, on the launch of the first-ever Decade of Action for Road Safety, occurring in 30 cities across our nation and 50 countries worldwide, it is time for all of us to take action to save lives at home and around the globe.”
The report contains a page with statistics specific to Illinois. Among the various statistics is one indicating that the total crash-related death costs in Illinois are $1.32 Billion annually, composed of $15 million in medical costs and $1.31 Billion in work loss costs.
Other statistics found in the report concern the percentage of total cost broken down by “type of road user.” Within this categories, “motor vehicle occupants” has the largest percentage, incurring 47% of total costs.
Another statistic is the total costs by age group. In this category, “young adults” has the largest percentage, incurring 46% of total costs.
As to how can costs of motor vehicle crashes be reduced, the CDC indicates two areas of preventative measures, crash prevention and injury prevention (if crashes do happen).