WASHINGTON -- A single truck crash in the U.S. costs nearly $100,000. The bill for longer tractor-trailer accidents, however, costs significantly more, according to a new study commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The new study provides the latest estimates of unit costs for highway crashes involving medium-duty and heavy trucks by severity. Based on the latest data available, the estimated cost of police-reported crashes involving trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 lbs averaged $91,112 (in 2005 dollars).
Crash cost data helps experts determine countermeasures
to mitigate the severity of highway truck accidents.
These costs represent the present value, computed at a 4 percent discount rate, of all costs over victims’ expected life span that result from a crash. They include medically related costs, emergency services costs, property damage costs, lost productivity, and the monetized value of the pain and "quality of life" that the family loses because of a death or injury.
Crashes involving long combination vehicles (LCVs) -- trucks with two or three trailers -- were the rarest, but their cost was the highest among all crashes -- $ 289,549 per crash.
Straight truck crashes with no trailers had the lowest cost – $ 56,296 per crash. The average cost of property damage only (PDO) crashes was $15,114; while the costs per non-fatal injury crash averaged $ 195,258.
Not surprisingly, fatal crashes cost more than any other incidents. The average cost was $ 3,604,518. The total estimate excludes mental health care costs for crash victims, roadside repair costs, cargo delays, earnings lost by family and friends caring for the injured.
According to the study, safety analysts use crash cost data for a variety of purposes, from analyzing the effectiveness of a particular roadway enhancement to measuring the impact of seatbelt use.
Crash costs are used to compare the relative efficacy of various crash countermeasures, which are expected to have a differential impact on crashes of different severity. These figures are also used to calculate and compare the costeffectiveness of proposed safety regulations, the study states.