The objective of this article is to assess the total economic costs of road traffic crashes in Barcelona, a metropolitan city located in Southern Europe. A cost-of-illness study was conducted using a prevalence approximation, a societal and healthcare system perspective, and a 1-year time horizon. Results were measured in terms of Euros in 2003. Total costs of road traffic crashes in Barcelona in 2003 were €367 million. Direct costs equalled €329 million (89.8% of total costs), including property damage costs, insurance administration costs and hospital costs. Police, emergency costs and transportation costs had a minimum effect on total direct costs. Indirect costs were €37 million, including lost productivity due to hospitalization and mortality. The results of the sensitivity analysis showed the upper limit of total economic cost of road traffic crashes in Barcelona to be €782 million. This is the first study to estimate the costs of road traffic crashes for a city in a developed country. The importance of the problem calls for further interventions to reduce road traffic crashes.
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