Stat of the week from the blog Man's Greatest Mistake: the total cost of all motor vehicle accidents in the UK for a year is: (drum roll) £18 billion. That's about 1% of GDP, or, put another way, about 15% of the government deficit.
So not a trivial amount of money.
I've been thinking for a while that actually, reducing car use is one of the best ways of increasing living standards. After all, many families on middle to low incomes have one or sometimes two cars, and the associated costs are enormous. Providing people with alternatives, through more public transport investment and traffic calming to make cycling more attractive, would basically make people richer. And that's before we start to consider the environmental benefits.
It's a no-brainer, but of course a very radical change to get people used to. But on the other hand we're going to have to do it one day, so why not start now when we have a bunch of other good reasons to do it, like avoiding a second great depression?