car accidentMotor vehicle crashes – a leading cause of injury in the U.S. generally and consistently the leading cause of U.S. work-related fatalities – impose a “terrible public health burden and economic cost” on Americans, according to a "Vital Signs" bulletin just released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 2.5 million Americans went to hospital emergency departments and nearly 200,000 were then hospitalized because of motor vehicle crash injuries in 2012, CDC reports.

These injuries translated to:

  • $18 billion in lifetime medical costs.
  • $3,300 in cost for each emergency department visit, and $57,000 in cost for each hospitalization over a person's lifetime.
  • An estimated $33 billion in costs for work lost over lifetime.


Proven strategies for preventing motor vehicle crashes and related injuries include the use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts; interventions to reduce drinking and driving; and improvements in teen driver safety.

More information, including recommendations targeted to employers, can be found in the CDC "Vital Signs" bulletin at In conjunction with the report, CDC also released a new interactive calculator, the Motor Vehicle PICCS (Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States). This tool is designed to calculate the expected number of injuries prevented and lives saved at the state level and the costs of implementation, while taking into account available resources. The Motor Vehicle PICCS (pronounced "picks") is available online at:

More resources

The "Vital Signs" bulletin incorporates data contributed by NIOSH on the toll of motor vehicle injuries on the job. Preventing work-related injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes is a NIOSH priority that supports CDC's public health mission. NIOSH's resources are available at The release of the CDC Vital Signs corresponds with Drive Safety Work Week 2014, an initiative spearheaded by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a NIOSH partner. NETS has a toolkit aimed at employers. For information on Drive Safety Work Week, please see a NIOSH blog, and the NETS toolkit,