Craig Warhurst

Crashes take 110 lives and cost Gympie $735,745

ROAD crashes are smashing more than $56 million a year out of our economy.

In the 13 years to 2013 in the Gympie local government areas, 110 deaths and 2744 injuries left a $735,891,200 black hole.

The Federal Government's Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics experts say each person killed in a road crash costs the nation $3,180,598.

A person with serious injuries will set us back $316,869 while a patient with minor injuries costs $17,511.

The costs are based on a range of factors including loss of earnings, emergency service response, medical treatment, disability care, property damage and insurance.

An APN Newsdesk analysis of Queensland Government accident data for the Gympie Regional Council area over the 13 years shows 110 people died on our roads, 1129 had serious injuries and 1615 were left with minor injuries.

The deaths accounted for $349,865,800, the serious injuries were valued at $357,745,100 and the minor injuries cost $28,280,300.

The overall total was $735,891,200 for 13 years or $56,607,000 a year.

The annual financial burden of road accidents to Australia is $27 billion.

Economic Society of Australia's Richard Tooth, who wrote The Cost of Road Crashes: A Review of Key Issues, said reducing the financial impacts of road crashes could be as simple as changing how insurance was regulated.

"I argue the insurance industry could play a major role in reducing road fatalities and injuries if we gave insurers the right incentives," the Sapere Research Group director said.

"In Queensland and most of Australia the CTP regulations prevent insurers from offering price discounts to encourage safer driving.

"In most developed countries like the UK the comprehensive insurance is bundled with the CTP and there is little price regulation.

"That means the high risk drivers pay a lot more for insurance and the low risk drivers pay less.

"As a result, high risk drivers can get very large discounts on their insurance by driving safer cars."

Gympie Mayor Mick Curran road safety was everyone's responsibility.

"Drivers should drive according to road conditions," he said.

"Also, the regular messages from the Queensland Police Service and Department of Transport and Main Roads are obviously so important."

Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said road users and the Queensland Government needed to work together on safety.

"There are many excellent road safety initiatives in place in Queensland, all designed to enhance safety for motorists. My aim is to ensure we continue to review and improve their effectiveness. I'm working closely with road safety experts like the RACQ and CARRS-Q," Mr Bailey said.

"By working together, we are best placed to continue to ensure the safety of motorists and all road users."

THE COST

The cost of accidents to the Gympie Regional Council area's economy between 2001 and 2013:

SEVERITY: NUMBER, COST

FATAL: 110, $349,865,800

MAJOR: 1129, $357,745,100

MINOR: 1615, $28,280,300

TOTAL: $735,891,200

ANNUAL: $56,607,000

* Calculations are based on the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics guidelines of $3,180,598 for each fatality, $316,869 for each person with a serious injury and $17,511 for each person with minor injuries.