Official government estimates have put the annual cost of road traffic accidents in the UK at a staggering £34 billion, despite the number of road deaths falling to an all-time low.
The total includes medical bills as well as the estimated cost of the human suffering the accidents cause.
According to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (DfT), last year’s road accidents cost an estimated £15.12 billion – £500 million less than in 2011. That included accidents resulting in damage only but did not take in unreported injury accidents.
DfT officials say that the total annual cost of road traffic accidents could be as high as £34.3 billion when incidents that have not been reported are taken into account. The total reflects the medical and human cost of injuries to both the casualties and their friends and families as well as their loss of output.
Meanwhile, figures for 2012 show the average fatal road traffic accident involved 1.07 fatalities, 0.29 serious casualties and 0.43 slight casualties.
Drink-drive deaths up 17%
In June the DfT announced the number of people killed on UK roads fell 8% to a record low of 1,754 in 2012.
But the new figures show the number killed in drink-drive accidents was 280, 17% more than during the previous year.
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: “Road deaths in Britain are now at their lowest levels since records began and our roads are among some of the safest in the world, which is welcome news.
“But let’s not forget that each road death represents the tragic loss of someone’s loved one. That’s why there is no room for complacency and why the Government will continue to crack down on the most dangerous drivers and improve training to make our roads safe for everyone.”
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