The High Cost of Incomplete Long Island Streets
Part 1: Medical Consequences of Traffic Injuries in Nassau County
Written by Allison Blanchette
Traffic injuries are a serious public health problem and economic burden. The high costs of traffic crashes on Long Island include costs associated with: economic losses (lost market and household productivity), congestion impacts, property damage losses, police and emergency responder services, legal expenses, insurance costs, travel delay and added fuel and pollution impacts and lost quality of life.
Here I want to highlight hospital costs on Long Island, 2014- the most recent comprehensive data compiled through the New York Department of Health (NYSDOH). The point is to offer a glimpse of how much unsafe streets costs us.
Traffic injuries were the leading cause of injury related deaths, the second leading cause of injury related hospitalizations, and the second leading cause of injury related emergency department visits in Nassau County, 2012-2014 (NYSDOH - New York State Health Department, SPARCS June 2016). Looking at direct medical costs for Nassau County in 2014, focusing on vulnerable road users, the collective costs for just bicyclists and pedestrians is over $22million.
For Emergency Department (ED) visits, Bicyclists averaged $6252 per visit with 122 visits for a total $898,246. Pedestrian averaged $7716, with 985 ED visits for a total 3,502,845. ED totals does not include patients that were subsequently admitted into the hospital. ED visits for motorcycles, vehicle occupants and others were nearly $1.5million.
Hospitalization charges for Bicyclists charges were $35,747, average 2 day length of stay, with 48 admissions for an average total $1,703,957. Pedestrians charges were $80,203, average a 6 day length of stay, with 205 admissions for an average total $16,414,94. Hospitalizations for motorcycles, vehicle occupants and others were nearly $36million.
All crashes on Nassau County roadways in 2014 resulted in $54.1 million in hospitalization charges, approximately $2.7 million charged to publicly funded programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, corrections, and VA healthcare. As impressive as these costs are, they may only be a glimpse of the true scale of these costs due to a complex system of maintaining and analyzing medical costs and injury data.
So far we have been looking at 2014 statistics for medical costs, the most recent we have obtained. So where are we today in terms of injuries?
Next up: I will be taking over this investigative series, The High Cost of Incomplete Long Island Streets, Part 2 with a look at current crash stats.
For detailed information on crashes in New York State, please see the detailed table provided at: https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/prevention/injury_prevention/traffic/ Or visit the The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee of New York website at: www.safeny.ny.gov