Fatal car crashes cost Florida billions

A fatal car crash can tear families apart and leave people in a difficult position. The costs associated with fatal car accidents are more than $40 billion a year, nationwide. Florida placed third among the states with a total between $3 and $4 billion. Safety advocates are hoping the high costs will lead to changes to make Florida roads safer for everyone.

A single deadly car collision can be a terrible emotional and financial burden. Calculating the costs involved is always a challenge. In this study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cost to the public was calculated from a number of areas, including lost wages over the lifetime of the victim and the cost in emergency care. It does not include the cost to a parent who loses a child, or a child who will have to grow up without a mother or father. Even excluding these costs, the figures are surprising.

Many strategies have been discussed for reducing the number of fatal car, truck and motorcycle accidents on Florida roadways. Mandatory helmet laws, which were repealed in 2000, could be reinstated. Seatbelt and child safety seat laws could be enacted or strengthened to protect passengers. Bans on text messaging and other elements common to distracted driving accidents could be put in place. Finally, restrictions on the rights of new drivers could be enacted. These could limit the hours of the day during which they can legally drive, or the dictate the amount of supervision and training they need before they can operate a motor vehicle alone

What is clear is that fatal accidents take a horrible toll on the victims, their families, and on the state and a whole. If changes are not made, it is a cost we can expect to rise in coming years. For now, the loved ones left behind will be left to pursue proper compensation from insurance companies through personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Florida third in U.S. in costs from fatal car crashes, CDC says,” Sonja Isger, 21 May 2011.