Traffic tie-ups and congestion can create real headaches for Houston area drivers, especially during rush hour conditions. According to a study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA), however, the costs of traffic accidents far outstrip the added expenses associated with traffic congestion nationwide. Congestion is responsible for an estimated $97.7 billion in lost productivity, increased fuel expenditure and wear and tear on vehicles. By contrast, automotive accidents account for an estimated $300 billion in lost wages, medical treatment, property damage and other losses. This amounts to more than $1,500 per person per year in the U.S. alone. Consulting with a qualified Friendswood auto accident attorney can help victims of these incidents to obtain fair financial compensation for their losses and injuries in and out of the courtroom setting. Expenses Associated with Traffic Congestion Increased fuel use is one of the most easily recognizable costs associated with traffic jams and rush hour slowdowns. This also leads to increases in pollution and added environmental impact. Loss of productivity is also included in the impact of these commonplace occurrences. Traffic congestion can also have a negative effect on the emotional and physical health of drivers stuck on freeways or in urban areas and may lead to incidents of road rage in some instances. The Real Cost of Traffic Accidents A study released in 2014 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) combined the actual costs of traffic accidents with the societal harm these events cause, resulting in a figure of $871 billion in losses each year attributed to auto accidents. Fatality accidents are particularly costly.
- In the state of Texas, $3.5 billion in costs related to fatality accidents are incurred annually.
- A 2011 AAA study indicated that fatality crashes in urban areas create economic costs of approximately $6 million per incident.
These initial costs often do not paint an accurate picture of the long-term and lasting impact of fatality traffic accidents. Lifetime loss of wages, especially for younger victims, can play a significant role in the lives of families and in the economic losses experienced by communities. Ongoing medical expenses for those who survive and an overall decline in the quality of life for injury victims and their families must also be factored into the equation when looking at the true cost of traffic accidents. Where Congestion and Accidents Overlap A symbiotic relationship does exist between traffic congestion and accidents:
- Unexpected traffic backups and congestion can increase the likelihood of accidents, especially on highways and other areas where high speeds are expected and allowed.
- Accidents in areas of high traffic can cause backups and delays for hours until they are cleared.
Addressing the issues that lead to traffic accidents and congestion can help to reduce their impact on local and national economies and on those most affected by these events. What Texas Is Doing to Reduce Accidents In 2009, the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) awarded $600 million in funding to widen highways, implement new turn lanes and to install or repair barriers on divided highways. Other efforts include the following:
- Installing gates and lights at railroad crossings
- Educating drivers about the importance of seat belts
- Instituting sobriety checkpoints
- Establishing campaigns against distracted driving
- Generating greater public awareness regarding safety on Texas roads and highways
By taking steps to reduce accidents and to mitigate congestion, the TTC is working to promote a safer environment for all drivers in the state of Texas. If you or someone you love has been injured in a traffic accident, consulting with a Friendswood car crash lawyer can provide you with the guidance needed to pursue your case effectively. Your Friendswood personal injury attorney will help you achieve the highest possible settlement for your losses and wrongful death claims.