Crashes on the Pacific Highway create a $170m black hole in the state economy each year.
Crashes on the Pacific Highway create a $170m black hole in the state economy each year. Frank Redward

Highway crashes cost $170m a year

IN THE five year period from 2006 to 2010, crashes on the Pacific Highway created a black hole in the state economy worth a staggering $840.5 million.

This extraordinary figure was released today by NRMA Motoring & Services after an investigation led to the publication of Cost of Road Crashes 2012.

The report analysed the economic cost of crashes from 2006-10.

In total, crashes across the state claimed 2,163 lives, caused 124,061 injuries and cost the NSW economy $13.8 billion over the five-year period.

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.

NRMA President and local director Wendy Machin said the analysis by NRMA showed that the tragic loss of life and injuries on the Pacific Highway also carried a massive financial cost to the NSW economy.

"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 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.

"There is no silver-bullet solution to reducing crashes and while the Pacific Highway is in the process of being upgraded, cost-effective measures such as wire rope barriers should be considered on other dangerous North Coast roads such as the Oxley Highway.

"At $80 per metre installed, wire rope barriers could help prevent head on crashes and at that price, could be installed on long stretches of road."