Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Cost for fatal car accidents in Virginia tops $800 million

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Incidences of car accidents are on the rise across on the country. In fact, car accidents are a major cause of death for teenagers, children and young adults. According to statistics, more than 30,000 people are killed in car collisions nationwide each year. In 2005, fatal car crashes caused losses of $41 billion due to work loss costs and medical expenses. This cost can be significantly reduced if more effective safe driving programs are implemented in the United States.

In Virginia, the total cost for car accident fatalities in 2005 exceeded $800 million. Medical costs amounted to nine million dollars and work loss costs were calculated to be $854 million. According to statistics, 40 percent of those who were killed in collisions in 2005 in Virginia were young adults, resulting in losses of $346 million. In Virginia, certain actions can be taken to prevent these collisions, including mandatory use of seatbelts for Virginia residents. Also, graduated responsibilities for young drivers obtaining licenses can be instituted to encourage young drivers to gain much-needed driving experience under safer conditions.

According to the study, a good way of reducing the costs associated with car accidents is to prevent them. A few effective strategies for preventing collisions are to set up frequent sobriety checkpoints and use ignition interlock devices for those who are convicted of drunk driving. If car accidents cannot be prevented altogether, limiting the severity of or preventing injuries should be the goal. Increasing the safety of child seats and promoting awareness of safety belts are some steps that can prevent injuries when collisions occur.

The calculation of work loss costs involves adding up the amount of salary and fringe benefits that a person would have earned if he or she had lived a normal life span. When a young person is killed in a car crash, the work loss cost is much higher than if an older person dies.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Cost of deaths from motor vehicle crashes," accessed Feb. 16, 2015

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