Car accidents cast a long shadow across the American landscape. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated that in 2005 the impact of crashes involving motor vehicles in the U.S. at $41 billion. The ten states account for half of this total, and Tennessee, unfortunately made it into the top ten, with $1.15 billion.
But this is not the total cost, as these numbers only encompass fatal highway accidents. The National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked at 2010, and that the true cost of motor vehicle accidents was $871 billion in that single year.
We often forget the effects of crashes on survivors. Even in cases with relatively minor injuries that are not paralyzing or life threatening, the individual may be left with a very different life than when he or she began that day.
A McMinn County deputy is living with screws in his ankle and even after months of intense physical therapy, he still has difficulty walking and entering or exiting a vehicle. And his injuries have left him unable to continue as a patrol officer.
The article does not indicate if he still suffers pain from the injury, but one danger crash survivor's face is drug addiction due to the need for prescription painkillers to cope with chronic pain that often remains long after the crash.
Ironically, he is still lucky. In many jobs, he would have been out of work, as their employer may not offer transfers or may not have any other job available.
The accident that led to the deputy's retirement was caused by a teen driver who was distracted by texting. One good that has come out of the crash is that the deputy and the teen have worked together to speak about the dangers of texting and driving and raise awareness of the risks posed by this activity.
WBIR.com, "Deputy hurt in crash with texting teen forced to retire," October 5, 2014