Crash costs by body part injured, fracture involvement, and threat-to-life severity. United States, 2000

Accid Anal Prev. 2004 May;36(3):415-27. doi: 10.1016/S0001-4575(03)00035-6.


This paper presents costs per US motor vehicle crash victim differentiated into many more diagnostic categories than prior estimates. These unit costs, which include the first keyed to the 1990 edition of Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) threat-to-life severity scores, are reported by body part, whether a fracture/dislocation was involved, and the maximum AIS score among the victim's injuries. This level of detail allows for a more accurate estimation of the social costs of motor vehicle crashes. It also allows for reliable analyses of interventions targeting narrow ranges of injuries. The paper updates the medical care data underlying the US crash costs from 1979 to 1986 to the mid 1990s and improves on prior productivity cost estimates. In addition to presenting the latest generation of crash victim costs, this paper analyzes the effects of applying injury costs classified by AIS code from the 1985 edition to injury incidence data coded with the 1990 edition of AIS. This long-standing practice results in inaccurate cost-benefit analyses that typically overestimate benefits. This problem is more acute when old published costs adjusted for inflation are used rather than the recent costs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / economics*
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods
  • Fractures, Bone / economics*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score*
  • United States