What are the costs of road crashes for society?


The social costs of road crashes in 2020 are estimated at € 27 billion (with a bandwidth of € 15 to € 36 billion) [1]. This is equivalent to 3.3% of the gross domestic product (1.9-4.5%). The costs are about € 6.5 million per road death and  € 0.7 million per serious road injury.

More than half the total costs of road crashes are attributable to serious road injuries, while the share attributable to road deaths is smaller (15%). Slightly injured casualties (treated in the A&E department of a hospital), and crashes with property damage only (PDO), have a cost share that is almost equal to that of the road death share: 17% and 13% respectively. A relatively small share of the costs (3%) is attributable to other injuries, see Figure 1.

The costs are both 'hard' economic costs – such as medical costs and damage to vehicles – and human costs. The human costs involve loss of life years and quality of life. Three quarters of the total costs are human costs (See the question What types of road crash costs do we distinguish?).


Figure 1. Shares of deaths, serious/slight/other injuries and property damage only crashes of the total road crash costs (2020). Source: [1].

The data for 2020 are based on a recent update of the social road crash costs [1] [2]. In the present study, the same calculation methods were used as had been used in the studies for 2009 [3] and 2018 [4] while they were updated with new data and research results, among which new values for the human costs of road deaths and serious road injuries (see the question What types of road crash costs do we distinguish?). In addition, new data on vehicle damage, insurance costs and congestion costs were used. Some, mainly smaller, cost items were simply updated, for which the costs from previous studies were adjusted for inflation and the development of the number of victims.

The bandwidth of the total costs (€ 15 - € 36 billion) is based on the 95% confidence interval of the value of a statistical life (from which the human costs are inferred (see the question: What types of road crash costs do we distinguish?). Moreover, uncertainty about the number of slight injuries and about the extent of the total vehicle damage was incorporated in the bandwidth. This concerns damage not paid by insurers, for example damage to one’s own vehicle that is only insured for third-party liability or damage that is not claimed. The increased bandwidth in costs, however, mainly reflects uncertainties in the estimate of human costs.

The figures only present the costs that are consequential to the road crashes. The costs made to prevent road crashes, amounted to € 2,3 billion - € 3,1 billion in 2007 [5]. More recent estimates of these costs have not been made.

Part of fact sheet

Road crash costs

The social costs of road crashes in the Netherlands in 2020 are estimated at € 27 billion (between € 15 and € 36 billion). This is significantly Meer

Deze factsheet gebruiken?