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150 Costs of injuries for vulnerable road users in motor vehicle crashes, United States, 2018
  1. Ted Miller1,2,
  2. David Swedler1,
  3. Bruce Lawrence1,
  4. Bina Ali1,
  5. Larry Blinco3
  1. 1PIRE, Beltsville, USA
  2. 2Curtin University, Perth, Australia
  3. 3NHTSA, Washington, USA


Statement of Purpose We identify fatal, and hospital treated injuries to motorcyclists, pedalcyclists, and pedestrians in motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) and estimate the financial impact of these injuries.

Methods/Approach We computed costs of crash injuries to these vulnerable road users by multiplying 2018 incidence by age group, sex, travel mode, and injury severity times corresponding unit costs. Nonfatal incidence came from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) and Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) and fatal incidence from Multiple Cause of Death (MCOD) data. Unit medical, work, and quality of life costs over the victim’s remaining lifespan absent the crash came from a published model that we ran on 2013–2014 NIS and NEDS (the last years coded in the 9th Edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) that forms the nonfatal costing backbone). We ran a separate published cost model on the 2018 ICD-10 MCOD data. We report all costs in 2020 dollars.

Results Total costs of MVC injuries to vulnerable road users in 2018 were $224 billion, or $685 per capita. The value of lost quality of life comprised 83.4%, work loss 13.8%, and medical costs 2.8%. Motorcyclists had per capita costs around $310, with costs around $300 for pedestrians, and approximately $75 for cyclists. While fatally injured victims were only 4% of the total study population, their injuries resulted in 37% of costs. Male MVC victims accounted for disproportionate costs per capita, with the greatest per capita costs ($804) for male motorcycle riders ages 21 through 69. Costs per capita were quite low for adult female pedalcyclists and children under 16 for all three modes.

Conclusions Child bicyclist injury costs exceeded adult costs in 2000. That changed, perhaps because helmet use and ridership shifted. Crash incidence and cost data for vulnerable road users can aid decision-making on road design and policy interventions.

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