How are the costs calculated?


Three methods are used to establish the various cost items [7] [8] (also see the question: What types of road crash costs do we distinguish?):

  1. The ‘Restitution costs method’ is used to determine the medical costs, the property damage and the settlement costs. This method uses the costs of deployment of people and resources required to (as much as possible) restore the damage for casualties and their relatives. Examples are the costs of medical personnel, the costs of vehicle repair companies and the costs of emergency services.
  2. The ‘Human capital method’ is used to determine production loss. This method determines the value of the production that would have been made by the casualties if they had not been injured or killed. Production loss actually includes both paid production and unpaid production (for example, housekeeping and voluntary work). However, in the Netherlands and most other countries only paid production is included in the calculations.
  3. The ‘Willingness to pay method’ is used to calculate the human costs. This method usually uses a questionnaire study (‘stated preferences’) to determine the amount that people are willing to pay for a certain reduction of the crash risk. Also see the question How do we define the human costs of road crashes?

Large quantities of data are required to determine all the costs using these methods. Per cost item, the necessary data include [4] [16]:

  • Medical costs: number of days that a casualty spent in hospital, the average cost per day of hospital or nursing home care and the number of ambulance trips per year. Most medical costs are determined using VeiligheidNL’s burden of injury model, which uses data from medical records and cost estimations from various studies.
  • Production loss: duration of absenteeism and disability, remaining number of life years and production per person. Among the data used are, for example, disability insurance data and economic statistics of Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Human costs: results of a survey about the amount people are willing to pay for a reduced crash risk.
  • Property damage: insurance data on vehicle damage and estimates of damage unknown to insurers due to it not being insured or claimed.
  • Settlement costs: time spent by the police on road crashes, number of times the fire department turns out for road crashes, budgets of fire department and police, financial data of insurers, and number of criminal cases following a road crash. The data are supplied by, among others, Statistics Netherlands and the Ministry of Security and Justice.
  • Congestion costs: travel delays due to road crashes, and economic valuation of travel time and travel time unreliability.
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

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