The NHTSA declared in a statement that "This includes $277 billion in economic costs - nearly $900 for each person living in the United States based on calendar year 2010 data -- and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries."
As for the biggest problems connected to the figures above, the agency found speeding to account for 21 percent of financial losses, with driving under the influence following on a close second. Distracted drivers (including texters) are to blame for 17 percent of the $871 billion total economic costs.
NHTSA acting administrator David Friedman declared on this matter that "This new report underscores the importance of our safety mission and why our efforts and those of our partners to tackle these important behavioral issues and make vehicles safer are essential to our quality of life and our economy."
Entitled 'The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2010', the study conducted by the NHTSA further reveals that 32,999 people lost their lives on North American roads in 2010, while 3.9 million other drivers, passengers and pedestrians suffered non-fatal injuries.
However, census data suggests the number of auto-related injuries is declining, mostly because more and more drivers recognized the importance of buckling up: "Safety belt use prevented 12,500 fatalities, 308,000 serious injuries, and $69 billion in injury related costs in 2010".