The Social Cost of Road Crashes and Injuries 2015 update was released in March 2016.

The report finds that the total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes in 2014 is estimated at approximately $3.47 billion (up by 5.8 percent from $3.28 billion in 2013), at June 2015 prices. This estimate covers all injuries recorded by NZ Police, hospitals and Accident Compensation Corporation. 

The increase in social cost was largely attributable to a 16 percent increase in the number of fatalities (from 253 in 2013 to 294 in 2014) and a 4.6 percent increase in the estimated total number of serious injuries (from 3,504 in 2013 to 3,667 in 2014). Over the same period, there was a 6.4 percent reduction in the estimated total number of minor injuries (from 32,007 in 2013 to 29,968 in 2014).

Read an overview of the 2015 report
Read the questions and answers on the report
Read the Associate Minister of Transport Hon Craig Foss’ media release announcing the updates (external link)

Download the full 2015 report  [PDF, 1.4 MB]

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 for copies of earlier reports.

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