Crashes on the Pacific Highway are costing the state economy nearly $170 million a year according to an investigation by NRMA Motoring & Services.
Across NSW, the crashes claimed 2,163 lives, caused 124,061 injuries and cost the NSW economy $13.8 billion over the five-year period, the report concludes. From 2006 to 2010, crashes on the Pacific Highway cost $840.5 million.
The NRMA report, Cost of Road Crashes 2012, released yesterday in conjunction with the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), analysed the economic cost of crashes from 2006 to 2010.
NRMA president Wendy Machin said the analysis by NRMA and VRA showed that the tragic loss of life and injuries on the Pacific Highway also carried a massive financial cost to the NSW economy.
The NRMA highlighted the financial burden on the economy of crashes by looking at the costs associated with loss of life, treatment of injuries and ongoing care of persons with disabilities, property costs and general costs.
‘Although we welcomed the funding commitment to the Pacific Highway in the last budget, the long delay in its completion has left a horrific road toll and a massive cost to the state economy,’ Ms Machin said.
‘What is forgotten is that many of the injuries that occur on our roads can impact on the quality of one’s life forever.
‘Every time there is a crash on the Pacific Highway, the human cost and the grief it brings is immeasurable.
‘What is measurable, however, is the economic cost – in the form of hospital and rehabilitation costs, legal and insurance costs, labour and loss of work-hour costs and the cost to emergency services.
The VRA tended to 804 crashes, providing 6,293 volunteer hours last financial year.
NSW VRA commissioner Russell Ashdown said VRA volunteers were often first at the scene of a crash and spend hours cutting out trapped vehicle occupants.
‘VRA volunteers know only too well the very human cost of crashes and what awaits us is often too horrible to comprehend,’ Mr Ashdown said.
The NRMA will develop a series of recommendations from Cost of Road Crashes 2012 and present them to the Australian and NSW governments.
Cost of Road Crashes 2012 is available at http://www.mynrma.com.au/about/reports-brochures-research.htm.