Study: Each fatal wreck costs on average $6 million

Wednesday night just before 6:00, 62-year-old Joe Hunt was headed south on F.M. 1912 when his vehicle hit another one, costing him his life.

But did you know, fatal car wrecks like the one Wednesday evening can also cost millions of dollars?

"Generally speaking, a fatal wreck can cost more because anytime you know the accident will be a fatality or that there is a high likelihood of prosecution would be more resources applied", said Sgt. Brent Barbee with the Amarillo Police Department Crime Prevention Unit.

A new AAA report estimates each fatal car wreck costs an average of six million dollars! That number includes the cost of eleven different factors including property damage, legal costs, lost earnings and emergency services.

"Every accident is different," said Sgt. Barbee. "How many hours it can take, how many officers are used, how big the scene is. We start trying to factor in fire or the street department or anybody that has to come help out and that can add to the cost overall."

"It came out to about $1,050 per call per truck," said Captain Wes Hall with the Amarillo Fire Department. "So, each car wreck we send two trucks automatically so it's going to be $2,100 per car wreck."

Of course, medical costs are a large part of that number as well.

"How many ambulances were called out there and how often are those people that are involved in those accidents," added Sgt. Barbee, "how often are they able to pay their bills versus their insurance?"

The cost of these fatal crashes has jumped almost $3 million dollars since AAA's last report in 2005. AAA also estimated the cost of injury-only crashes to be around $126,000. Sgt. Barbee says we all see the financial burden in some way.

"These traffic accidents cost everyone money," he said.

B ut it's the life that's lost that costs the most.