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Costs of Vehicle-Related Injury Exceeded $99 Billion in 2005

$58 billion attributed to fatalities, $28 billion to nonfatal injuries resulting in hospitalization

TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- In 2005, motor vehicle crashes in the United States resulted in more than 3.7 million deaths or injuries requiring medical care, as well as loss of productivity and medical costs reaching nearly $100 billion, according to research published in the August issue of Traffic Injury Prevention.

Rebecca B. Naumann, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 2005 data from several sources on the incidence of such injuries and their costs.

The researchers found that, in 2005, medical and lost productivity costs from motor vehicle-related injuries totaled $99 billion. Of this, $58 billion was due to fatalities, $28 billion was for nonfatal injuries requiring hospitalization, and $14 billion was for people treated in emergency departments and released. Of all costs, the injuries to occupants of motor vehicles accounted for $70 billion, motorcyclists accounted for $12 billion, pedestrians accounted for $10 billion, and cyclists accounted for $5 billion. Motor vehicle crashes resulted in 3.7 million deaths or injuries that resulted in medical care, and teens and young adults accounted for 28 percent of all injuries, though they represent just 14 percent of the U.S. population.

"Motor vehicle-related injury and death are preventable. Crashes place an economic and societal burden on the United States. Our conservative estimates translate to every person in the United States in 2005 paying $336, or each U.S. licensed driver paying almost $500, for the medical costs and productivity losses associated with these preventable injuries and deaths. However, effective interventions exist that can and should be used to prevent these crashes and their consequences," the authors conclude.

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