Abels & Annes

Fatal Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere Cost Residents nearly $300 Billion

The costs of fatal car accidents in Chicago have increased tremendously in recent years. According to USA TODAY, the average cost of a fatal car accident now runs about $6 million. A newly release report concludes that the cost of these accidents have surpassed the cost of traffic congestion. Traffic congestion costs include motorists’ time and the waste of gas while idling. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted the study in about 100 urban areas, including Chicago. In these areas, the cost of accidents are now at least three times higher than the cost of congestion, nearly $300 billion compared to about $100 billion.
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AAA got its accident information from data collected by the Federal Highway Administration. These figures include costs pertaining to medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, legal costs, administrative costs, lost time at work, vocational rehabilitation, travel delays, emergency services, loss of household activities, pain, suffering and lost quality of life.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that the costs for these accidents sat at around $3.25 million in 2005. During this time, injury accidents cost only about $68,000. The cost has nearly doubled since then. For many families, even those who don’t realize it, an accident can be among the biggest threats to their financial well-being. Medical complications can last years or take years to present themselves. If you’ve been in an accident, do you and your family a favor and consult an attorney to review your case.

This new study was conducted to help push the issue of transportation policies within Congress, which is currently considering a long-term highway funding bill, according to Chris Plaushin, AAA’s director of federal relations.

“We wanted to raise the profile and raise the awareness,” says Plaushin. “Right now, it’s jobs, it’s construction, it’s economic growth that are being talked about. This is part of our effort to bang the drum about safety.”

He says that it would be nearly impossible to attack congestion without affecting accidents and vice versa. Usually, highly congested areas have more reports of traffic accidents. Recent studies have concluded that roughly 40 percent of congestion is the result of accidents and weather and not from road conditions.

These traffic accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for people age 5- to 34-years-old in the United States.

The study also makes recommendations on how to reduce the costs associated with these accidents. These suggestions include investing more in roadway safety measures, including rumble strips, roundabouts in place of rumble strips, cable barriers, etc. Officials also recommend putting more laws into effect to help curb distracted driving, drunk driving and aggressive driving. All of these behaviors can be regulated with stricter enforcement.

“We know what’s effective,” said AAA spokesman Troy Green. “Tough laws. Stricter enforcement. Strict penalties. And targeted messaging and public education campaigns are effective, and we need more of those.”

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Chicago, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

AAA: Fatal motor vehicle crash costs $6 million, by Larry Copeland, USA TODAY
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