The social cost of road crashes and injuries 2017 update has now been published.

It finds that the total social cost of motor vehicle injury crashes in 2016 is $4.17 billion (up by 7.8 per cent from $3.87 billion in 2015) at June 2017 prices. This estimate covers all injuries recorded by NZ Police, hospitals and ACC. 

This increase reflects a 2.5 percent increase in the total number of fatalities (from 319 in 2015 to 327 in 2016) and a 17 percent increase in the estimated total number of serious injuries (from 3,775 in 2015 to 4,410 in 2016).

Read an overview of the 2017 report
Read the questions and answers on the report
Download the full 2017 report [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Read the Associate Minister of Transport Hon Genter'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 New Zealand population would be willing to pay for safety improvements that result in the expected avoidance of one premature death1(external link). This value of statistical life (VOSL) measurement was established at $2 million in 1991, based on the results of a willingness to pay (WTP) survey carried out in 1989/1990.

The VOSL is indexed to average hourly earnings (ordinary time) to express the value in current prices. This is used in safety evaluations across road, maritime and aviation.

Medical costs can be further broken down into emergency costs, medical/hospital treatment costs, and legal costs including crash investigation, imprisonment and court costs.

The social cost of road crashes and injuries is updated annually and can be found on the MOT website. 


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