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Cost of Deaths from Crashes

Over 30,000 people are killed in crashes each year in the United States. In 2005, in addition to the impact on victims' family and friends, crash deaths resulted in $41 billion in medical and work loss costs.


See how much crash deaths cost your state in 2005, and find CDC's recommendations for how to save lives and money.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a period of enhanced focus on protecting people on the world's roads. CDC is releasing new fact sheets highlighting state costs of deaths from motor vehicle crashes to coincide with the May 11 launch of the Decade of Action.

In a one-year period, motor vehicle crash-related deaths in the United States resulted in an estimated $41 billion dollars in medical and work loss costs. According to new estimates released today by CDC, half of this cost ($20.4 billion) can be attributed to only 10 states.

CDC's data analysis found that 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).

Costs were calculated to include both medical and work-loss costs.

Suggestions to Help Save Lives and Money

CDC's Injury Center encourages states to consider the following strategies, which are proven to save both lives and money:

Photo: A woman fastening her seatbelt.
  • Primary seat belt laws, which allow law enforcement to stop motorists and cite people solely for not wearing seat belts. Seat belts reduce the risk of death to those riding in the front seat by about half.
  • Strong child passenger safety policies, which require children to be placed in age- and size-appropriate child safety and booster seats while riding in vehicles.
  • Comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems, which are proven to reduce teen crashes. GDL systems help new drivers gain experience under lower-risk conditions by gradually increasing driving privileges in stages over time. The most comprehensive GDL systems have been associated with up to 40 percent decreases in crashes among 16-year-old drivers.
  • Universal motorcycle helmet laws, which require riders of all ages to wear helmets. Helmet use can reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by more than one-third and reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent.

Photo: Parents putting their children in safety seat.Safety Tips for Everyone on the Road

Everyone can follow these tips to stay safer from crash-related injuries:

  • Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Encourage everyone in the car to buckle up, including those in the back seat. Make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is appropriate. See CDC guidance on child passenger safety.
  • Have all children ages 12 and under sit in the back seat.
  • Never seat a child in front of an air bag.
  • Place children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
  • Learn and follow your state's teen driving laws.
  • Make sure that your teen driver gets a minimum of 30-50 hours of supervised driving experience with you.
  • If you ride a motorcycle, always wear a DOT-approved helmet.

More Information

CDC's Injury Center works to keep people safe on the road—every day. CDC offers a variety of materials and resources on key topics for the general public, public health officials, and anyone interested in promoting and supporting motor vehicle safety.

  • Page last reviewed: May 11, 2011
  • Page last updated: May 11, 2011
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs