The annual economic cost of traffic accidents is calculated by the Bundesamt für Straßenwesen (BASt); the data is differentiated by type and severity level of accidents and can be adopted for the years 1995–2012. Values between 1991 and 1995 were extrapolated according to the average change rate in the period from 1995 to 2004.
The calculation model quantifies accident costs differentiated by levels of severity of accidents – for fatalities, severely and slightly injured people – or by categories of material damage. By combining the differentiated accident cost rates with their respective frequency in the survey year the total economic cost of material and personal damages in traffic accidents can be calculated. Reproduction and downtime cost (direct/indirect), non-market value losses, humanitarian and traffic jam cost are included.
The calculation model used by BASt was revised with regard to the year 2005.The BASt argues that this rupture of results due to the change of the calculation methods must be accepted because of the improvement of the quality of the results.
The valuation of accident costs entails methodological issues that also need to be discussed under ethical consideration – especially for accidents involving fatalities.