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Semi Truck Crashes Prove Costly, Study Says

May 31, 2007

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 (FMCSA), Today’s Trucking reports. 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.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 (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 crashes was $15,114; while the costs per non-fatal injury crash averaged $195,258. According to Today’s Trucking, the FMCSA study reports that 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.
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