Crashes cost taxpayers money, either directly through car repair costs and insurance premiums, or indirectly via taxes that pay for higher health and rehabilitation costs. Crashes also deter taxpayers from choosing lower-cost modes of transport, such as cycling. This is a financial burden on our economy. In Victoria, for 1993-94, the cost of crashes was estimated at over $2 billion dollars. Now in 2019 we have more traffic and more crashes, costing us even more money.
The Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Office of Best Practice Regulation values a human life at $4.5m and the value of a statistical life year at $195,000 in 2018 dollars.
If Yarra invests $10m per year in safe travel infrastructure and thwarts the loss of two lives, then the investment has not cost us anything. In contrast, all the other benefits (such as reduced population health costs) mean the investment definitely has a positive benefit/cost ratio.
To reduce total costs to the taxpayer, the State Government and the City of Yarra should collaborate to implement Towards Zero. This is a win-win that is bi-partisan, comprising both economic rationalism and equity for all road users.