Crash Costs for Highway Safety Analysis

Safety practitioners and researchers use crash costs to determine if safety improvement projects are economically justified and to quantify economic impacts of crashes.

Crash costs can also be used to quantify and compare the safety of various design alternatives. In 2018, Massachusetts began developing comprehensive crash costs to assist with these analyses.

2019 Comprehensive Crash Costs by Crash Severity for All Crash Types Combined

The crash cost calculations are based on the methodology defined in FHWA's Crash Costs for Highway Safety Analysis published in 2018.

The crash costs developed are comprehensive because they include both economic costs (e.g., medical bills, lost wages) and quality-adjusted life years (QALY - commonly thought of as the cost for pain and suffering). The cost of a crash is typically broken down by the crash severity. In 2019, the comprehensive crash costs can be found in the table below for total average comprehensive crash costs by crash severity.

Crash Severity Crash Severity Defined 2019 Recommended Comprehensive Crash Unit Costs
K Crashes involving a Fatal Injury $16,257,800
A Crashes involving a Serious Injury $941,300
B Crashes involving a Non-serious Injury $284,600
C Crashes involving a Possible Injury $179,600
O Crashes involving No Injuries $16,700
KA Crashes involving a Fatal Injury OR a Serious Injury $2,764,700
KAB Crashes involving a Fatal Injury OR a Serious Injury OR a Non-Serious Injury $706,100
KABC Crashes involving a Fatal Injury OR an Injury of any type $441,000
KABCO Any crash severity $121,400

Crash costs have also been developed for specific crash types. Details on the methodology used to develop the comprehensive crash costs for Massachusetts and the detailed comprehensive crash costs for specific crash types is linked below.

Additional Resources for