The social cost of road crashes and injuries 2016 update has now been published.

It finds that the total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes in 2015 is $3.79 billion (up by 7.4 per cent from $3.53 billion in 2014) at June 2016 prices. This estimate covers all injuries recorded by NZ Police, hospitals and ACC.

This reflects a 9 per cent increase in the total number of fatalities (293 in 2014 to 319 in 2015), a 3 per cent increase in the estimated total number of serious injuries (3,668 in 2014 to 3,791 in 2015) and a 10 per cent increase in the estimated total number of minor injuries (30,443 in 2014 to 33,497 in 2015).

Read an overview of the 2016 report
Read the questions and answers on the report
Download the full 2016 report [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Read the Associate Minister of Transport Hon David Bennett's media release announcing the updates (external link)

Download reports from previous years: 

About the report

The social cost of a road crash and the associated injuries include a number of different elements:

  • loss of life and life quality
  • loss of output due to temporary incapacitation
  • medical costs
  • legal costs
  • property damage costs

Injury costs are classified into fatal, serious and minor injuries as reported by crash investigators.

The average value of a loss of life is estimated by the amount of money that the members of the New Zealand population would be willing to pay for a safety improvement that results in the expected avoidance of one premature death1. It is a measure of the pain, suffering and loss of life component of the social cost.

The value of statistical life (VOSL) was established at $2 million in 1991, following a willingness to pay (WTP) survey carried out during 1989/1990. It is indexed to average hourly earnings (ordinary time) to express the value in current prices. The same VOSL has been used in all safety evaluations across all three transport modes (road, maritime and aviation).

Medical costs can be further broken down into emergency costs, medical/hospital treatment costs and follow-on costs. Legal costs include crash investigation, imprisonment and court costs.

The social cost of road crashes and injuries is updated annually. Please contact info@transport.govt.nz for copies of earlier reports.


[1] This is the willingness to pay based value of statistical life.