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Car-related deaths cost $41 billion a year

The highest medical and work loss costs were in California, with $4.16 billion. The lowest were in Vermont.

By MSN Money Partner May 17, 2011 11:23AM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


Auto-related deaths in the U. S. cost an estimated $41 billion in medical and lost productivity expenses a year, according to estimates released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


According to the CDC, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. are killed in car crashes each year, but the costs associated with these deaths vary widely from state to state.


The highest medical and work loss costs were in California ($4.16 billion), followed by 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).


Conversely, Vermont ($73 million), Alaska ($74 million), Rhode Island ($79 million), Delaware ($107 million) and North Dakota ($111 million) had the lowest medical and work loss costs due to car accidents.

The estimates are based on 2005 data, the most recent year for which data on auto-related deaths and their costs were available. Find out how costly crashes are in your state by visiting the CDC’s website.


The CDC said its analysis was not intended to address the wide variation in state costs, so it did not attempt to explain them. (However, we'd venture to guess that explanation might be similar to the reasons why insurance rates tend to differ state by state.)

Instead, the CDC's report put a number on the toll that car crash-related deaths take on America’s families, their wallets and even the loved one's employer.


"Deaths from motor vehicle crashes are preventable," said CDC director Thomas R. Frieden in a written statement. "Seat belts, graduated driver's license programs, child safety seats and helmet use save lives and reduce health care costs."


The CDC also said the costs related to auto deaths among children and teenagers from birth to 19 years of age was nearly $856 million. The highest percentage of costs related to children and teen crash deaths was in Vermont (34%, $25 million), while the lowest was in Nevada (17%, $66 million).


"Despite the higher percentage in Vermont, its cost is lower due to the much lower total cost of injury," the CDC said. 


The updated fact sheet's release coincides with a larger initiative called Decade of Action for Road Safety. It's being sponsored by the CDC and the United Nations General Assembly.


For more information on motor vehicle safety, visit the CDC's website.


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