In his analysis, Car Talk expert Paul Atchley calculated the cost of distracted driving on the state of Kansas. If you take the National Safety Council’s current estimates that 28% of fatalities are caused by distracted driving, that translates into 97 fatalities in Kansas. Also, nearly 5,000 people are injured and 12,000 incidents of property damage are caused by distracted driving in the state.
If you translate those deaths, injuries and property damage into a dollar amount, it cost the Kansas economy $500 million in 2009. If tabulating the cost of fatalities differently — for instance, the Federal Highway Administration Technical Advisory says a fatally reflects a $3,391,450 loss — then the number is even larger. For instance, fatalities would cost the Kansas economy $82 million alone, as opposed to the $27 million figure the National Safety Council states.
Of course, Car Talks points out that it’s impossible to tangibly express the emotional and physical toll an auto accident has on the victim, friends and family. The purpose of this thought experiment is to help save lives by showing that spending some money on safety campaigns could do a lot a good.
Driver Distraction Center: What Is the Cost? (Car Talk)