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Global Economics Article

The Economic Impact of Zero Car Accidents (Infographic Included)

Since their birth, cars have become such a means of society. Whether you own one personally, or rely on public transportation, many of us depend on them for our day-to-day routines. While cars have been a tremendous contribution with efficiency and advancement, they have also led to a great amount of deaths and economic impacts.

According to data from the National Safety Council and the Department of Transportation, 2016 was the deadliest year in the U.S. for car accidents in recent years, with 40,000 deaths and 11 million accidents. Chicago-based law firm Cooney and Conway dove in to looking at the economic impact car accidents have on society, and people on an individual basis, and if the dream of zero car accidents can become a reality.

In 2014 there was an $871 billion economic and societal impact faced by U.S. citizens because of vehicle crashes alone. When looking at that number alone it’s almost hard to even comprehend how that number effects people on an individual basis.

There are endless factors that contribute to accidents on the road, and one of the leading ones is speeding. Car accidents that have resulted from speeding cost the nation $59 billion, but when you break that down it is an average of $191 for every person in the U.S.

One of the more daunting numbers would be the $432 billion that cost the U.S. as a result of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage from 2016. When that’s broken down to an individual level it evens out to be an average cost of $1,350 for every person in the U.S.

Distracted driving is becoming one of the rising leaders for car accidents across the country and is predicted to surpass drunk driving. It led to over 3,000 deaths and over 390,000 injuries in 2015 alone. The act of accidents from distracted driving costs every person in the U.S. $158 on an annual basis.

With vehicle accidents continuing to be a problem year over year, is it time to let technology takeover how we handle the road? Many people think self-driving cars could be the answer. The idea of self-driving cars can not only lead to lower deaths, but also save Americans money.

It is predicted that self-driving cars could have a dominant role on the road in the next 30 years. By doing so, the federal government sees this as a key part to getting to zero highway deaths in the next 30 years. Additionally, this could eliminate 90 percent of all auto accidents in the U.S. and save over 300,000 live per decade.

From a financial standpoint alone, autonomous cars being on the road can prevent up to $190 billion in damages and reduce insurance premiums by 40 percent.

But what can individuals start to do about this to help resolve some of the problems? This a time where a lot of entrepreneurs are jumping behind the movement to help this idea succeed.

Kyle Vogt started Cruise Automation, a company that sells technology enabling cars to drive themselves. Vogt is just one of many entrepreneurs jumping behind the self-driving cars movement in an attempt for safer roads across the U.S.

Cruise Automation describes it as joining the driverless revolution.

Wired mapped out the top 263 companies that are behind autonomous cars. Breaking down the companies to various categories from services, to safety and intelligent manufacturing. It really conceptualizes the mass impact of companies getting behind the movement and how the numbers are only going continue to grow.

The insurance industry is bound to change drastically with these changes coming to the roads. One of the more apparent changes is that they might move from covering human error, to more technical failures. Currently, liability insurance costs the nation $116 billion and $76 billion in comprehensive insurance.

Cooney and Conway’s graphic highlights the top 10 cities with the most expensive auto insurance with Detroit, New Orleans and Grand Rapids rounding out the top three. The change of cars on the road could result in great changes for the respective cities residents. 

Our nation’s roads have not been getting on the path they should be to be safer for our society. The idea of self-driving cars taking over the road can lead to safer driving conditions along with more business endeavors for people to get behind.

As we inch close to these cars taking over the road, only more opportunities will come for entrepreneurs to continue to help the movement for safer roads.

Will these cars let America reach the goal of actually living in a country where zero car accidents exist? Only time will tell for that answer, but the federal government believes that it could be a key part to achieving zero highway deaths in the next 30 years.

There’s a lot of uncertainty as to what self-driving cars will actually bring to our roads and economy, but the future in looking bright.

The economic impact of zero car accidents infographic statistics

(Source: Cooney & Conway)

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