INDIANAPOLIS – It’s no secret that traffic accidents are expensive for anyone involved.

Would it surprise you to learn they can cost you over $1,000 each year, even if you’re not involved in one?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents cost the U.S. economy and society roughly $340 billion a year.  An in-depth study by NHTSA examined all the economic fallout from accidents.  Those included things like medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost time and work and other costs directly related to a crash.

The study also examined the secondary effects of accidents, like the impact of crashes on insurance premiums, lost time spent sitting in stalled traffic and wasted fuel burned during traffic backups. 

The study also calculated the cost in tax dollars.  For example, the police, firefighters and emergency medics who responded to crashes are funded by public tax dollars, along with all the fuel and equipment used to respond to accidents.  Those dollars are written into annual budgets based on the latest crash statistics and the anticipated need for the funding.

Keep in mind, the latest numbers from NHTSA are from 2019.  Indiana State Police say they’ve been watching a gradual increase in crashes in recent years, so the price tag is likely going up.

“We’ve also seen an increase in dangerous speeds,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine.  “People driving incredibly recklessly. People driving selfish.”

When you break down the total price tag, car crashes cost an individual American roughly $1,035 per year, even if you aren’t involved in a crash.

Of course, none of this is accounting for the human toll of crashes.  While numbers are still coming in, traffic fatalities were on pace to top 40,000 across the country in 2022.  State Police say they investigated 33 traffic deaths in Indianapolis last year.