Stephanie Pratt, PhD, is a Research Health Scientist in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research and NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. She is Vice-Chair of the ANSI/ASSP Z15.1 fleet safety standard committee and a member of the ANSI/ASSP Z15.3 subcommittee on automated vehicles.
Many of us already drive personal or company vehicles with automated features such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. While automation clearly improves safety, it also presents new issues for safety professionals. Companies need to integrate policies on vehicles with automated features into their current fleet safety management systems.
Employees who drive for work face significant roadway risks, and motor vehicle crashes can devastate families, communities, and organizations. Crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities, with 1,252 deaths of vehicle drivers and passengers on public roads in 2016. In 2013, on-the-job crashes cost employers over $25 billion and led to 155,000 lost work days. Despite the human and financial costs of crashes, only 24 percent of employers offer occupational health services as part of their wellness programs.