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Motor Vehicle Accidents Cost Kentucky $871 Million

Car crashes in Kentucky cost the state $871 million, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research analyzed findings for the year 2005, which is the most recent year where complete records are available. Kentucky's costs were part of $41 billion of costs incurred nationwide. More than 30,000 people die yearly in motor vehicle accidents, according to the CDC.

Medical Expenses and Lost Wages Cited as Costs Incurred

The costs include medical expenses and lost wages for people whose injuries prevent them from immediately returning to work. In Kentucky, medical bills amounted to $8 million of the costs for 2005. The remaining $863 million were categorized as work-loss costs. Work-loss costs include lost wages, lost fringe benefits, and the cost of tasks people can perform around the home but are required to pay others for after an accident. The figure also would include the money lost because people who eventually do return to work return to lower-paying jobs due to their injuries.

According to the CDC, the best way to reduce these costs is to reduce the number of car crashes. The CDC recommends graduated driving licenses, which limit younger, more inexperienced drivers to driving during daylight hours. Ignition interlocks, which prevent an inebriated driver from starting a vehicle, are also recommended along with sobriety checkpoints.

Crashes Not Preventable But Injuries Are

All crashes are not preventable. Therefore the CDC notes that the best way to avoid injuries in a collision is to wear your seatbelt and make sure your children are restrained by age-appropriate and approved car seats. If you ride a motorcycle, wearing a helmet will protect you from, or lessen, many head injuries. The CDC recommends increasing helmet usage through mandatory helmet laws.

The good news for Kentucky is that its bill for motor vehicle accidents is far from the most expensive. That dubious distinction belongs to California, where vehicle crashes are estimated to cost $4.16 billion per year: one-tenth of the nation's total. Texas ($3.5B), Florida ($3.16B), Georgia ($1.55B), Pennsylvania ($1.52B), North Carolina ($1.5B), New York ($1.33B), Illinois ($1.32B), and Tennessee ($1.15B) rounded out the top 10 states with the highest cost of vehicle accidents.