By using federal crash cost data, AAA reported Friday that the cost of traffic crashes in New Jersey is twice that of congestion, despite the Garden State’s notorious backups.
The AAA study said crashes cost New Jersey $38.7 million annually in medical and emergency services, lost earnings, household production and property damage. AAA says congestion in the state costs $14 million.
“When you’ve got economic impacts, it impacts everybody,” said Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Nationally, the average per-person cost of traffic accidents is more than $1,500 — nearly triple the $590-per-person cost of congestion.
“We have to remember that when we are in congestion during construction, that ultimately will come to an end and the result of the construction will ease the congestion,” Noble said of the state’s congestion woes. “That, at least, is a means to an end.”
Noble said reducing the number of car accidents in New Jersey will create a “ripple effect” that will reduce the costs as well as the congestion. Until 2011, Noble said New Jersey saw a declining trend in the number of crashes each year.
The state Department of Transportation did not immediately return a call seeking comment.