Prior to this research, the most recent analysis available was the Cost of road crashes in Australia 2006 (BITRE 2009) report published by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
Importantly, the report shows that despite a 25 per cent reduction in fatalities between 2006 and 2015, the cost of road trauma in 2015 was only 6.8 per cent lower than the cost in 2006 when expressed in 2015 prices. The report also shows that although fatalities have fallen, injuries requiring hospitalisation continue to increase, contributing to the significant costs to the economy and the Australian community.
The ECON report also estimates that the direct cost to government for only one year’s worth of trauma – as distinct from the total economic cost – was more than $3.7 billion.
Of the $3.17 billion cost to government of:
• Immediate responses to road trauma in health, emergency services and other areas incur $945 million of this cost in the first year after a crash.
• More than three quarters of this cost comprises the present value of future years of forgone taxation revenue and additional income support payments arising directly from road crash deaths and disabilities.
• The need to provide additional health services represents 11.8 per cent of this cost.
The report suggests that there were several factors that contributed to the change in the cost of road trauma from 2006 to 2015. The change in total cost can largely be explained by a decrease in fatalities and disabled persons as well as casualty aging which all put downward pressure on total costs. Factors that contributed to an increase included an increase in hospitalised and non-hospitalised injuries as well as total road crashes and increases in health costs.