A report prepared by Cambridge Systematics, Inc. in Besthesda, Maryland for AAA was released in November of 2011 and focused on the costs of traffic congestion and the costs of injuries from traffic collisions. The three key findings (based on 2009 traffic data across the country) in the report included the following: the total cost of traffic crashes was 3x more than the cost of congestion ($299.5 billion for crashes and $97.7 billion for congestion); the crash costs per person exceeded the costs of congestion in every city studied; and the costs of crashes per person actually decreases as the size of the metropolitan area increases.
The report references that there has been over 5.5 million car crashes that are reported to the police which result in over 30,000 fatalities and 2 million injuries in the United States every year. However, these statistics have been on the decline due to new laws, advances in technology and the willingness of the federal and state governments to increasingly address transportation safety. The report for AAA basically reflects that the costs and consequences of deaths from collisions far exceed the costs of traffic congestion.
Of further interest, this report also analyzed crashes and congestion in various cities, including Greater Atlanta. The results were staggering. In 2009, Atlanta had 498 fatalities and 62,263 injuries from car crashes. The total costs (in millions) of these accidents and injuries were as follows: $2,988 (fatalities); $7,845 (injuries) and $10,833 (crashes). As a result of these numerical findings, Greater Atlanta was ranked the 5th highest in the United States for people injured in auto accidents. The three cities that beat Atlanta (ranked in order from most to least) were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. The Atlanta Journal Constitution briefly mentioned these findings in an article.
The report also references a study from the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report which found that traffic congestion wasted 4.8 billions hours of people’s time and 3.9 billion gallons of wasted gasoline for a combined cost of $97.7 billion. If anyone has been stuck in rush hour traffic from Gwinnett to downtown Atlanta in the morning or vice-versa after work, then these figures are not so far fetched. From a review of the AAA report, it appears that Federal and State Governments have a higher interest and priority in managing and decreasing traffic congestion versus injuries from traffic collisions. The basic problem is that the increase in new highway traffic capacity has not kept up with the growth in travel across the United States.
The report proposes four main recommendations as follows: make safe transportation a national priority; invest in safety technology; pass safety laws (mandatory seat belt; impaired driving technology, etc.); evaluate and implement state highway safety plans and achieve zero fatalities. While these recommendations are admirable, successful implementation may prove to be difficult in the short term. In this time of limited resources and federal and state budget cuts, the focus is on increasing highway and road capacity. If automakers can achieve a profitable return on their investment from safety technology, then we should expect further technological advances. Safety laws would need to be addressed at the federal level to avoid conflicting laws among the fifty states. The goal of zero fatalities in the country is a normative goal.
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a car accident, it is of utmost importance that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure important evidence and information is not lost or destroyed. By retaining an attorney early in the outset, you can protect your rights and obtain the recovery to which you are entitled under law.
The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford has twenty years of experience in handling the claims of car collision victims, and if you or your loved ones have been the victims of a vehicle accident in Georgia, we can help you, too. Contact us today, to speak to an attorney right away. As always, the consultation is free, and there is no obligation. Call us, or use the online form. We are available to answer all your questions.