The high cost of accidents in Curitiba

Originally published in November 11th, 2003
A human life is priceless. But aiming to alert drivers and pedestrians of the risks of irresponsibility in the traffic, traffic agencies from all over the country usually calculate the costs of the accidents that happen in urban areas. And those can be frightening: up until September 2008 Curitiba spent over R$ 200 million on traffic accidents.

This value is calculated based on a international table from the World Health Organization (WHO) which considers the damaged caused to the vehicles, the transport and treatment of the victims, social security and jury expenses, the money spent repairing traffic signals, police help, the use of others means of transportation and even the price from the loss of production (in case of death) amongst others.

Form January to September of the current year, according to the military police’s traffic battalion (BPTran), 20,309 accidents in Curitiba were registered. From this total, 14,545 didn’t have victims; 5,764 were accidents with victims (wounded), 1,221 were runover and 93 with deaths (65 in the accident site).

According to the WHO table, a victimless accident has a total cost of U$ 1,410 (R$ 4,070.67, according to the price of the dollar yesterday). Accidents with victims cost US$ 5,640 (R$ 16.282,68); runover, US$ 8,460 (R$ 24,424.02), and accidents with deaths US$ 141 thousand (R$ 407,067). Based on these values, the total cost of accidents in Curitiba between January and September 2008 comes to a total of R$ 200,859,069.81 (US$ 69,573,630).

Considering only the deaths occurred in the accident site (the traffic department does not take in considerations the ones that happen after the accident) the cost goes down to R$ 189,461,193.87. The Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), department linked to the Ministry of Planning, published last May a study on the social cost of accidents in urban areas. The numbers are smaller than WHO’s: R$ 3,262 for victimless accidents, R$ 17.460 for accidents with wounded victims and R$ 44,143 for the ones with death fatalities (the Ipea doesn’t specify the cost of runover). The medium cost of the accident, according to the Ipea, is R$ 8,782. The medium cost of the accidents with victims goes up to R$ 35,136. According to the Ipea’s table, the social cost of the traffic accidents that occurred this year in Curitiba, between January and September was R$ 161,490,529. Considering only the deaths on the accident site (65 up till now), the numbers go down to R$ 157,454,525.

The Diretran, local department responsible for the traffic in Curitiba, uses the data from WHO, once the study by Ipea, named Social and Economical Impacts of the Traffic Accidents in Urban Areas, was realized based on data from only four Brazilian capitals: São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Recife and Belém.

According to the Ipea, the average cost of hospital care for each patient ranges from R$ 645 to R$ 47,588, for hospitalized and non hospitalized ones respectively. “This translation to numerals is important”, says the director of traffic of Curitiba, Lanes Randal Prates. “A citizen that was never involved in an accident may not understand the sentimental side, but he will understand the financial aspect. If the numbers change the point of view from at least one citizen, it’s worth it”.

Jornal Estado do Paraná

portuguese version