Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace deaths in the U.S. These accidents involve many types of vehicles, from delivery trucks, tractor trailers, and garbage trucks to emergency response vehicles, farm equipment, and passenger cars.
EVERY 12 MINUTES, SOMEONE DIES IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
EVERY 10 SECONDS, AN INJURY OCCURS
EVERY 5 SECONDS, A CRASH OCCURS
Many accidents happen during work. Many of them occur on the way to and from work.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the US
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives in car crashes. About 4.4 million people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in crashes last year. 40% of motor vehicle accidents are work-related.
(Source: NSC and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Transportation incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event at 2,080, accounting for 40% of all work-related fatalities. (Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Motor vehicle accidents cost employers over $56 billion in 2017, with 53% of vehicle accidents causing employees to miss work. 68% of companies reported recent on-the-job accidents in company-owned vehicles, and 41% of companies reported recent on-the-job accidents in employee-owned vehicles. (Source: Motus Research)
US Dept of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics
Drivers, sales workers, and truck drivers had the most fatalities of any broad occupation group at 966. (Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Transportation-related incidents include those involving aircraft, railways, roadway collisions, and more.
From Highest To Lowest Fatalities:
Slip and fall.
Contact with objects, equipment
Exposure to harmful substances or environments
Fire and explosions
Key findings from the 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries
A worker died every 111 minutes from a work-related injury in 2020.
Transportation-Incidents remained the most frequent type of fatal event, with 1,778 fatal injuries, accounting for 37.3 percent of all work-related fatalities.
“For the majority of people, the most dangerous thing they do while at work is drive on the public highway.”
(Source: Road Safety Observatory)
Driving for Work: Why Should Safety be Your Top Concern?
Whether your work involves operating or driving machinery on or off-site, it’s vital to make sure that your personal safety is protected, both by your employer and through their and your actions. People who drive for work are often subject to tight schedules and quotas, putting pressure on them to get there on time or to move merchandise quickly.
Whatever your role as a driver entails, safety should be your first concern. No matter where you work, your employer is obligated to provide a safe working environment, which includes maintaining safe vehicles and machinery. Safety of staff is of paramount importance and should always be the first concern of workmates, employers, and sub-contractors alike.
Who Is At Risk of a Workplace Vehicle Accident?
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the industry divisions with the highest fatalities include:
Transportation, Communications, and Public Utilities (TCPU)
Of course, these aren’t the only industries in which workers face the risk of a motor vehicle crash. Any profession that involves commuting or transporting goods or people presents a crash risk. Home healthcare workers, taxi drivers, and police officers spend significant time driving as well.
It isn’t only drivers who are at risk. Pedestrians can also be struck by a vehicle. Pedestrians are involved in approximately 16% of fatal transportation incidents.
What Are the Causes of Workplace Vehicle Accidents?
Workplace vehicle accidents generally fall into three categories:
Collision with another vehicle
Collision with a pedestrian
Collision with a stationary object on the roadside
Alcohol, other drugs, speed, lack of sleep, and driver distractions are factors in many work-related vehicle crashes. Distracted driving is becoming an increasing concern, killing an estimated 5,500 people and injuring nearly 450,000 each year.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Workplace Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Here Are A Few Things Employers Can Do To Help Prevent Workplace Motor Vehicle Accidents:
Check Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs).
On a yearly basis, verify drivers’ MVRs to ensure licenses are valid and that there are no outstanding violations. Additionally, only properly licensed individuals should be allowed to drive specialized vehicles.
Keep company vehicles in good repair.
Regularly inspect tires, brakes, lights, horns, and mechanicals as needed and replace or repair any problems. If a vehicle needs repair work, it should be marked as out of commission.
Create a corporate distracted driving policy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving was responsible for 9% of total fatal crashes in 2017. Employees should always be focused on the task at hand: getting to their destination safely. Creating a corporate distracted driving policy provides employees with strict guidelines for avoiding cellphone use, including making calls or answering texts and emails, while they are behind the wheel.
Enforce safety measures.
It should go without saying that employees should be required to wear seatbelts at all times. They should also obey all traffic laws, including posted speed limits, understand how to check blind spots before switching lanes, and have basic defensive driving skills.
Allow drivers to take breaks.
Employees required to drive for long hours in the early morning or late at night may be more susceptible to drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel. Encourage drivers to take frequent breaks, at least every 100 miles or every two hours, especially when driving overnight. Before a long drive, employees should get plenty of sleep, and understand that if they start to feel groggy or irritable, they should pull over and get some rest.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.
If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.