Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries Are Frequent, Costly, Preventable

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More than 2.5 million people went to the emergency  room and nearly 200,000 of them were hospitalized – because of motor vehicle crash injuries in 2012, according to the latest report by the CDC. For every person killed in a motor vehicle crash, eight people were hospitalized and 100 people were treated and released from the ED. Americans spend more than one million days in the hospital each year from crash injuries.

Lifetime medical costs for these crash injuries totaled $18 billion. This includes approximately $8 billion for those who were treated in the ED and released and $10 billion for those who were hospitalized. Lifetime work lost because of 2012 crash injuries cost an estimated $33 billion.

The report’s key findings include:

  • On average, each crash-related ED visit costs about $3,300 and each hospitalization costs about $57,000 over a person’s lifetime.
  • More than 75 percent of costs occur during the first 18 months following the crash injury.
  • Teens and young adults (15-29 years old) are at especially high risk for motor vehicle crash injuries, accounting for nearly one million crash injuries in 2012 (38 percent of all crash injuries that year).
  • One-third of adults older than 80 years old who were injured in car crashes were hospitalized – the highest of any age group.
  • There were almost 400,000 fewer ED visits and 5,700 fewer hospitalizations from motor vehicle crash injuries in 2012 compared to 2002. This equals $1.7 billion in avoided lifetime medical costs and $2.3 billion in avoided work loss costs.

As most of us know, motor vehicle crashes and related injuries are avoidable.  Even though there has been a lot done to keep people safe on the road such as the  Move Over Law,  No Texting while driving law,  there are more things we can do to reduce the high rate of motor vehicle crash injuries  such as increase the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; reduce drinking and driving; and improve teen driver safety.

It looks like we have a lot more work to do here in Florida.   A 2010 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).

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