car accidentA NIOSH Science Blog post by Stephanie Pratt, PhD:

  • A 45-year-old salesperson was killed in a motor vehicle crash while traveling to meet with clients.
  • A 26-year-old emergency medical technician died when the ambulance she was in was struck head-on by a pickup truck traveling more than 70 miles per hour in the wrong lane of a two-lane road.
  • A 42-year-old construction foreman lost his life as his company truck plowed into a slower-moving petroleum tanker.
  • A 21-year-old highway worker died after a dump truck loaded with asphalt backed over him during a nighttime paving operation.

These are only a few examples of lives lost due to motor vehicle crashes at work. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related death in the United States. Risk of work-related motor vehicle crashes cuts across all industries and occupations. Workers who drive on the job may be “professional” drivers whose primary job is to transport freight or passengers. Many other workers spend a substantial part of the work day driving a vehicle owned or leased by their employer, or a personal vehicle. 

This week is Drive Safely Work Week. The event, sponsored by Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), an employer-led public/private partnership of which NIOSH is a member, reminds us all to practice and promote safe driving for all workers and their families.

If we look at the data, this is a problem that cannot be ignored. Thirty-five percent of occupational fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with motor vehicle crashes. Between 2003 and 2010, on average:

  • 1,275 workers died each year in crashes on public highways.
  • 311 workers died each year in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises.
  • 338 pedestrian workers died each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.

Over the same period, workers incurred nearly 400,000 lost-workday injuries due to...Read more>>