Motor Vehicle Safety on the Job

Source: Maria Wachala - 123RF

Source: kurhan – 123RF

Did you know that motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 36 percent of occupational fatalities are associated in some way with motor vehicles.

Over the eight year period ending in 2010, 1,275 workers died each year from crashes on public highways, 311 in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises, and 338 pedestrians died annually as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle driven by someone on the job.

Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of work-related fatalities among young people (ages 16-24) in the United States.

In addition to the human costs, motor vehicle crashes have economic costs. The cost to employers of on and off the job motor vehicles crashes has been estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be nearly 60 billion dollars annually, a fatality on the job costing employers over $500,000 and a non-fatal injury accident nearly $75,000.

Risk of work-related crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Though workers who drive on the job may be professional drivers whose primary job it is to transport freight or passengers, many other workers spend a significant part of their workday driving a vehicle owned or leased by their employer or their own vehicle on work-related business. Companies and drivers that operate large trucks and buses are covered by comprehensive safety regulations, but there are no Federal occupation safety regulations that cover the workers who use smaller, employer-provided vehicles or personal vehicles.

So, for all workers who drive on the job, employer safety policies are a critical factor in the reduction of crash risks. Employer policies may be limited to supporting and reinforcing state traffic laws. However, many employers choose to manage risk more proactively through programs and policies to promote safe driving behaviors, ensure that work-related driving takes place under the safest possible conditions, and ensure that worker vehicles are safe and properly maintained. For employers who choose to manage driving risk more proactively, The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has published its Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety that provides a great starting point for companies large and small for implementing a road safety program.