Social cost of road crashes climbs to nearly $5 billion for 2017

The social cost of New Zealand's road toll has risen to nearly $5 billion, but a crash survivor believes the cost can never fully be estimated.

The Ministry of Transport released figures on the cost of crashes on Tuesday, putting it at $4.8 billion for 2017.

It was estimated at $4.17 billion for 2016.

Survivor Leah Abrams told Newshub the costs of her crash continued long after the initial response to the accident.

"I had all of 2016 recovering from all of my injuries, once I had the two surgeries I've got weekly medical appointments, plus physio... counselling."

The psychological impacts of the crash were immense, leaving Abrams suffering whenever she saw emergency service vehicles.

"I suffered an immense trauma when I saw fire crews driving by my vehicle or if I was on the side of the road... flashbacks to [my] crash also took place"

The Ministry of Transport said the social cost per fatality is $4.37 million. The reported injuries are estimated to cost $791,000 per serious injuries and $84,000 per reported minor injury.

Abrams said a way to minimise all costs, would be to work with survivors. 

"Involve us in the conversation, involve us in the discussion and the decision making when it comes to people's lives on the road."

The official road toll for 2017 was 378. It was 380 in 2018. The toll has continued to rise this year, with several horror weeks on the road.  Twenty-six people died in the space of seven days earlier in April.