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NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety is dedicated to preventing motor vehicle crashes at work, and the injuries and fatalities that result from them. The Center’s work includes:

  • Conducting research that will lead to more focused Motor Vehicle Safety photo showing truck rollover crashrecommendations to prevent crashes and injuries

  • Communicating prevention information to employers, workers, and others who need it

  • Participating on committees that develop standards for safer work vehicles and better management of road safety in the workplace
  • Forming partnerships and exchanging information with employer associations, research organizations, non-governmental organizations, standards organizations, labor organizations, trade associations, manufacturers, and other government agencies

  • Working with global partners to prevent work-related crashes worldwide

For more information, please contact the NCMVS Coordinator, Stephanie Pratt.

NIOSH Research

Analysis of Company Fleet Safety Management Data to Guide Research and Prevention
This project addresses the lack of published research on fleet safety management programs from the U.S. Crash, personnel and vehicle data from a U.S-based fleet will be linked, and analyzed to provide detailed information on circumstances, location, crash patterns and injury experience, and to identify risk factors for motor vehicle-related crashes and injuries. The project also

NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety

NEW!! Strategic plan released May 1, 2014

As the new 5-year plan is implemented, NIOSH will work with partners to respond to emerging issues and provide research-based guidance so that those who work in or near motor vehicles come home safely at the end of their work day.

UPDATED! Fact sheet about the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety [PDF - 405 KB]

includes an injury-prevention effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evaluation of program components. Results will be used by researchers to propose future experimental studies to test hypotheses related to effective prevention of work-related motor vehicle crashes (MVCs); and, by organizations when selecting fleet safety program elements closely associated with reductions in crashes and injuries.

Project Contact: Stephanie Pratt
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5992
Project Period: 2013-2014

Evaluation of Commercial Vehicle Active Safety Systems and their Effect on Truck Driver Behavior
This research will be performed in collaboration with the University of Michigan (UM) Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). Main objectives are to analyze the effect of active safety systems on professional truck driver behavior, driver reactions, and risk factors related to professional driver safety. Data from the Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) database (data collection finished by UMTRI in 2010) and the Safety Pilot database (data collection started by UMTRI in 2012) will be used. This project focuses on drivers’ responses to lane change warnings, the safety benefits that may result from those systems and the role of system performance in drivers’ real-time responses to those warnings. Results may inform decisions to recommend these types of systems in fleet settings and will also be useful as mirrorless trucks, which use in-cabin video screens instead of external mirrors (for fuel savings), begin to emerge on the marketplace in the next several years.

Project Contact: Christopher Pan
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5978
Project Period: 2013-2014

Taxi Driver Survey on Motor Vehicle Safety and Workplace Violence
This study focuses on two of the leading causes of taxicab driver fatalities: motor vehicle events and workplace violence. For the motor vehicle safety component, taxi drivers in two U.S. cities will be given a survey designed to collect information on prevalence and frequency of adverse motor vehicle events and injuries, as well as road safety attitudes and behaviors. This information will allow NIOSH researchers to identify and describe the road safety risk factors and protective factors for taxicab drivers. These findings will also be used to develop prevention initiatives for reducing work-related motor vehicle crashes.

Project contact: Cammie Chaumont Menéndez, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2012-2016

Reducing Firefighter Vehicle Crashes: Simulation and Intervention
Excessive speed has been identified as one of the major contributing factors for fire apparatus crashes and overturns. Adapting and using advanced technologies to assist the driver in controlling the speed of a fire apparatus in emergency response situations is a promising approach to reduce the risk of fire engine crashes and overturns. This study will generate scientific knowledge and identify design requirements for an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) with “Electronic Horizon” specifically targeted for fire service pumpers and tankers, using a driving simulator and virtual-reality technology. The study will assess the effects of different ADAS features and parameters on the safety performance of experienced and novice drivers during various emergency response situations and driving environments. Findings will be shared with vehicle manufacturers and the fire service, who will use them to improve the operational safety of fire apparatus.

Project contact: Peter Simeonov, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2012-2016

Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative
This project coordinates the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, a “virtual center” designated by the NIOSH Director to address motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of traumatic occupational fatalities in the U.S. Current emphasis areas are: (1) global road safety initiatives, including a 3-year collaborative study in India that will deliver road safety management workshops to employers and driver training to truck drivers, as well as activities that support a 2010 resolution of the UN General Assembly proclaiming a “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020;” (2) support of National Occupational Research Agenda strategic goals related to motor vehicle safety; and (3) research addressing vehicle struck-by incidents in road construction work zones that evaluates promising interventions designed to prevent these incidents.

Project contact: Stephanie Pratt, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2004-2016

Motor Vehicle Safety: Best Practices in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry
Oil and Gas Extraction has one of the highest fatality rates of any industry in the U.S., and more of these fatalities are due to motor vehicle crashes than any other type of event. This project is partnering with oil and gas extraction service companies and safety experts to identify best practices in motor vehicle safety in oil and gas extraction. Outputs of this project include recommendations for best practices in motor vehicle crash injury prevention, tailored to oil and gas service companies, and a corresponding suite of outreach products and dissemination methods. These materials and methods will be based on knowledge gained during data collection, including the review of motor vehicle safety programs, and developed by a contractor with expertise in developing effective materials for workers. The marketing plan will focus on using organizational channels to target the intended audience.

Project contact: Kyla Retzer
Alaska Pacific Office
(907) 271-2382
Project period: 2010-2013

Expanded Information Tools for Building Safer Work Zones
Through this project, research results and methodologies will be developed into tools that construction managers and safety and health professionals can use to reduce worker exposures to road construction hazards. Products based on the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program and the NIOSH Roadway Work Zone Intervention Evaluation Project will be developed and marketed with industry stakeholder collaboration to ensure that packaging and delivery are appropriate for target audiences.

Project contact: David Fosbroke
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2009-2012

Cops & Cars: Reducing LEO Deaths in Motor Vehicle Crashes
This research study will identify the perceptions, policies, and practices of law enforcement officers (LEOs) that could affect their use of seatbelts while in patrol vehicles through the use of a comprehensive survey. Information collected will be used to develop and disseminate an evidence-based toolkit that will raise awareness of the importance that motor vehicles play in the mortality of LEOs and further explore methods to increase prevention practices.

Project contact: Hope Tiesman, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2009-2012

Impact of a Truck Driver Public Health Practice Project
The purpose of this project is to critically evaluate training products developed as part of an earlier NIOSH project titled "Training to Reduce Possible Broad Impacts of Work-related Sleep Loss." The PHPP training products consisted of a low-cost, web-based curriculum derived from accumulated information from NIOSH and the broader scientific community and specifically tailored for dissemination to four types of workers: nurses, retail workers, miners/blue collar workers, and truck drivers.

Project contact: Ted Hitchcock, Ph.D.
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8462
Project period: 2009-2012

Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments
This project builds on previous NIOSH research aimed at reducing or eliminating vehicle crash-related injuries and fatalities to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers in ambulance patient compartments. NIOSH research data will be used to directly influence changes to the General Services Administration’s Federal Specification for the Star-of-Life Ambulance, which largely governs the design of all ambulances purchased by the U.S. government and most state and local entities. Further, NIOSH is working directly with the Ambulance Manufacturers Division of the National Truck Equipment Association, which represents the builders of 90% of the ambulances built in North America, to expand the patient compartment consensus safety standards promulgated by the Association.

Project contact: Jim Green
Division of Safety Research
(304) 285-5894
Project period: 2008-2012

Survey of Truck Driver Injury and Health
Three NIOSH divisions and numerous partners collaborated to conduct a national survey of long-haul truck drivers at truck stops. Truck drivers completed a “core” questionnaire that collected basic information on demographics, employment history, health, lifestyle, and injury. Supplementary modules collected more detailed information on health and wellness, occupational injuries, fatigue, and sleep disorders. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provided partial funding for this research.

Project contact: Karl Sieber, Ph.D.
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4428
Project period: 2007-2012

Other Research Funded by NIOSH

Risk Factors for Crashes in a Retrospective Cohort Study of Commercial Truck Drivers
This research seeks to compare individual and environmental risk factors of commercial truck drivers involved in non-fatal and fatal crashes with drivers who were not involved in a crash, in a large (n=119,670) retrospective cohort study. The research plan will merge three considerable existing data sets: crash data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, occupational exposure data from a large motor carrier, and commercial driver medical exam data. This research has high potential impact due to the large number of occupational fatalities annually which are related to commercial driver crashes.

Project contact: Matthew S. Thiese, Ph.D.
University of Utah
Project period: 2011-2014

Effects and Feasibility of a Computer-Based Intervention on Truck Drivers' Sleep
This project will determine the feasibility of an education intervention to improve sleep and better manage fatigue in long-haul truck drivers. The aims of this study are: (1) to translate an established lecture training program on sleep, alertness, and fatigue management to a pilot computer-based, internet-accessible format (E-MAMF); and (2) to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of E-MAMF in improving sleep quantity and quality of long-haul truck drivers. This study addresses a critical barrier to health education and injury prevention in a large at-risk worker population.

Project contact: Karen L. Heaton, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Project period: 2011-2013

Washington Occupational Injury and Illness Surveillance and Prevention Program
This project includes a large component for surveillance of occupational injury and illness in the trucking industry in the state of Washington. Specific aims include: (1) establish a trucking advisory group; (2) publish baseline measures of injuries, trends and costs; (3) implement an injury surveillance system; (4) develop and implement case and employer follow up protocols; (5) conduct industry-wide surveys of employers and employees; and (6) identify opportunities for interventions to reduce hazards and injuries within trucking.

Project contact: David Bonauto, M.D.
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Project period: 2010-2015

Development of Guidelines and Assessment Tools for Truck Ingress/Egress
This project will develop procedures to evaluate anthropometric and biomechanical considerations related to risk of slipping or falling while entering or exiting a truck. The assessment procedures will be developed based on studying truck drivers in truck ingress/egress for use with digital human modeling software to characterize human factors evaluations of truck cabs. The research will yield scores that can be used to rank alternative systems. The design guidelines will be based on application of the new assessment procedure so that they specify system-level as well as component-level requirements. The outcomes of this research will be applied to improving truck design.

Project contact: Matthew Reed, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Project period: 2007-2012

Preventing Work Injuries and Chronic Illnesses in Truckers
The aims of this study are to: 1) identify injury risk factors and the prevalence of health problems among truck drivers; 2) to compare driver medical examination results with other health indicators; and 3) to develop and pilot test a health promotion and weight reduction program for truckers. Expected project outcomes are: 1) identification of risk factors for motor vehicle crashes and injuries, emphasizing the factors that shorten truck drivers’ careers; 2) recommendations to change the Commercial Driver Medical Examination; and 3) determination of drivers’ potential acceptance of a weight reduction program.

Project contact: Kurt Hegmann, M.D.
University of Utah
Project period: 2007-2012

Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Commercial Drivers
Obesity, male gender, and middle age, the typical demographic features of the commercial driver, are also the three strongest risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. Morbidity from this condition is substantial, and includes hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, insulin resistance, and fall-asleep crashes. The purposes of this project are to: 1) Evaluate how well self-assembled technologies used in the home setting identify sleep apnea in commercial drivers; 2) Determine whether an occupational screening evaluation can be combined with home diagnostic technologies to reduce the number of patients that need testing; and 3) Determine the relative economic costs of these screening strategies.

Project contact: Indira Gurubhagavatula, M.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Project period: 2007-2011

Search for extramural Federally-funded studies on motor vehicle safety:

Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) is a searchable database of federally funded biomedical research projects conducted at universities, hospitals, and other research institutions. The RePORT database covers research projects funded from fiscal year 1972 to the present.

More information may also be found at the NIOSH Office of Extramural Programs Web site.

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  • Page last reviewed: June 18, 2014
  • Page last updated: February 27, 2015 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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