A new report released by AAA shows that traffic accidents in Los Angeles and Orange counties cost nearly $11 billion annually, the highest in any metropolitan area in the United States. These counties lead the nation in massive costs associated with accident loss, damage and injuries, which beats even the steep price tag associated with traffic congestion, according to a study conducted by the Auto Club of Southern California.
What do these crash costs usually involve? They include costly items such as medical services, police and emergency response services, property damage, lost productivity and wages and more importantly for those affected a drastically reduced quality of life. As a personal injury law firm servicing Southern California – particularly Los Angeles and Orange counties, this is a daily reality for us. We see first-hand the loss, injuries, trauma and financial setbacks auto accident victims suffer. And it’s heartbreaking each and every time we see it.
This is how big the problem is, the study says. Traffic congestion, which is a huge issue in Southern California, costs us $9.3 billion. This is a visible problem. But the cumulative effect of all the traffic accidents we don’t see everyday add up to a whopping $10.85 billion. Auto Club officials are urging to increase the focus on taking aggressive steps to reduce the number of traffic accidents. They are calling on government leaders to take much-needed steps to prevent crash deaths and injuries by actions such as enhanced traffic law enforcement, improved highway safety and better management of traffic incidents.
Here is a breakdown of the traffic costs involving some of the local regions:
Los Angeles/Orange counties: $11 billion Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario): $955 million San Diego: $1.7 billion Ventura: $229 million Bakersfield: $66 million
In my opinion there are many specific steps federal and state officials can and should take to improve this mess. Enforcement of course is key – whether it is drunken driving, license checks, big-rig drivers following hours of service requirements or seatbelt enforcement. In addition, local officials need to make sure their infrastructure is in order. It’s going back to the basics. Fix those potholes. Improve those dangerous intersections. Put in traffic lights, stop lights and/or crosswalks where they are needed. Public safety should be their top priority. There is much to be done and every day our officials procrastinate is going to cost us not only more money, but lives and livelihoods.