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Annual research released today has highlighted the hidden cost we pay for road crashes, says Associate Transport Minister David Bennett.

The Ministry of Transport’s annual Social Cost of Road Crashes and Injuries report seeks to understand the social and economic cost of road crashes to New Zealand, and the estimated total social cost of fatal and injury crashes rose from $3.53 billion in 2014 to $3.79 billion in 2015.

In per-crash terms, the updated average social cost is estimated at $4,729,000 per fatal crash, $912,000 per reported serious crash and $99,000 per reported minor crash.

“Putting a value on a life lost or permanently altered is impossible. This report shows that on top of the high price paid by friends, families and communities, each and every crash has serious social and economic consequences for all of us,” Mr Bennett says.

Over 300 New Zealander’s lost their lives on New Zealand roads last year, and about 2,500 were seriously injured.

“The sad thing is that many of these crashes were avoidable. In forty per cent of the crashes where people were killed or seriously injured, the driver had drunk more than the legal limit of alcohol, was driving too fast for the conditions, or people in the vehicles weren’t wearing a seatbelt,” Mr Bennett says.

The Government spends billions of dollars a year on physical infrastructure improvements such as median barriers, rumble strips and wide shoulders, as well as on road safety enforcement, advertising, and education campaigns trying to encourage the sort of behavioural change required on our roads.

“How we drive can have such serious consequences for ourselves and other road users. We are all responsible for lowering the road toll, and reducing the emotional, physical and social cost of crashes on New Zealand roads,” Mr Bennett says. 

The latest report is available on the Ministry of Transport’s website: http://www.transport.govt.nz/socialcost

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