seattle car wreckWe read about motor vehicle accidents everyday that take place in Seattle or the greater King County area.  Some of these accidents involve simple property damage.  Many others deal with injury, disability, and even death…to both motorists and pedestrians alike.

Motor vehicle crashes undoubtedly can cause pain and heartache to individuals and families.  The Phillip Law Firm definitely has the experience to understand this.  Nonetheless, a recent study produced by the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) informs us that there are other losses suffered when it comes to motor vehicle accidents.  These losses are economic losses.  They impact us all as a nation and the costs are staggering.

Almost $900 Billion Worth of Economic Loss Every Year

Let’s run some numbers for a brief moment.  The U.S. DOT has recently concluded that motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $871 billion in economic loss every single year.  Yes, $871 billion.  This is a loss we all incur no matter if we were or weren’t involved in a motor vehicle accident.  This figure includes $277 billion in economic costs and $594 billion in harm from the loss of lives and the pain, suffering and decreased quality of life endured by individuals due to accident related injuries.

Of the $277 billion in economic costs, this figure equates to approximately two percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product.  Economic costs here refer to costs related to: productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and costs to employers.  Nearly 75 percent of these costs are absorbed via taxes, insurance premiums, travel delay, exorbitant fuel consumption, and environmental concerns.  These costs are essentially absorbed by us all no matter our driving record, location, health status, insurance carrier, etc.

Drunk Driving, Speeding and Driving While Distracted

According to the U.S. DOT study, three specific motor vehicle accident causes are responsible for the greatest total amount of economic cost to our nation.  The first is drunk driving as intoxicated driving related accidents cost us all approximately $50 billion every year.  This figure translates into an average annual cost of about $158 for every person in America.

Next up, speeding.  We all know that speeding can kill, but according to the U.S. DOT study, it also costs.  Motor vehicle crashes involving speeding cost the nation $59 billion every year.  This figure translates into an average yearly cost of about $191 for every person in the United States.

Finally, we have to mention distracted drivers.  The U.S. DOT study tells us that accidents caused by distracted drivers cost our nation almost $50 billion every year.  This translates into an average yearly cost of about $150 per person in America.

Need a quick tab?

  • Drunk driving related accidents…………….$158/yr
  • Speeding related accidents………………….$191/yr
  • Distracted driving related accidents…………$150/yr

The total is?  The total is almost $500 every year that every single person in America incurs due to the top causes for motor vehicle accidents.  Once again, this cost is incurred by us all.  This is regardless of the fact that we might have actually been involved in an auto related accident or not.

What to Do?

As Benjamin Franklin once stated, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Or, be safe and smart when operating a motor vehicle.  Our firm deals with irresponsible motorists on a daily basis.  Through experience, we understand that these drivers cause damaging and even deadly accidents that have profound and unforgiving repercussions to families and loved ones.  We as a firm wish to avoid these repercussions.  Granted, one of our main goals is dedicated towards seeking justice for those injured; but, a closely related goal is justice for all motorists.

Image Credit: Tony Alter via Flickr


Helmet use has consistently been shown to reduce motorcycle crash-related deaths and injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed 2008-2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of fatal traffic crashes in the U.S. Economic data was also obtained from NHTSA to compare costs saved as a result of helmet use. The findings indicated that in states with universal helmet laws only 12% of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet, compared with 64% of riders in partial helmet law states, and 79% in states with no helmet law. In 2010, economic costs saved by society from helmet use in states with a universal helmet law averaged $725 per rider, nearly four times more savings than in states without such laws.

Despite the fact that researchers have cited helmet use as the single most effective countermeasure in reducing motorcyclist injuries and deaths, only 19 states currently have universal helmet laws, and no states have enacted helmet laws since 2004. In fact, new data from the Highway Loss Data Institute further indicates that motorcycle safety is going in the wrong direction.

Research has shown that when a state repeals its universal helmet law as Michigan did in 2012, motorcycle crash injuries increased substantially, as did the medical costs of injured motorcyclists. Six states have repealed their universal helmet laws since 1997.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluated studies on motorcycle helmet laws, focusing on the effectiveness of helmets in preventing fatalities and serious injuries, the impact of helmet laws, and the societal costs of helmet nonuse. The studies they evaluated indicated that helmeted riders suffer fewer severe head injuries and lower fatality rates than non-helmeted riders. The evaluation also showed that helmet use ranged from 92-100 percent in states with universal helmet laws, compared with 42-59 percent use in states without. The data on cost of medical services rendered to motorcycle accident victims was somewhat unclear, but studies show that society pays for much of that care through tax-supported programs or insurance premiums. The long-term costs for victims of serious and critical head injuries could range from $100,000 to 300,000 per person.

If a negligent driver injures you or someone you love, an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help.