The 7th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, Vienna, Austria, June 6th-9th 2004. Vienna, Austria: Kuratorium für Schutz und Sicherheit/Institut Sicher Leben, 2004 Jun; :624-625
Problem under study: In the U.S., roadway crashes are consistently the leading cause of fatal injuries in the workplace. Data from the U.S. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries show that between 1992 and 2001, an average of 1,350 workers died each year in highway crashes as vehicle occupants. Objectives: The objective was to assess the relationship between risk factors and vehicle registration type for fatal work-related crashes. The null hypothesis was that of no association between vehicle registration and factors such as alcohol or seat belt use. Methodology: The data source was the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), maintained by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). FARS is a national census of police-reported crashes resulting in a fatality within 30 days of the crash. The definition of "injury at work" used by FARS excludes crashes during work commutes. Fatalities of pedestrian workers were excluded. Between 1997 and 2002, FARS identified 5,553 occupational crashes that killed 5,798 workers in 5,626 vehicles. This analysis was limited to 4,985 vehicles classified by NHTSA as a passenger car (n=663), light truck or van (n=1,236), or large truck (n=3,086); and registered to the driver (n=927), another individual (n=657), or to a business or government (n=3,401). Variables of interest were cross-tabulated by vehicle registration controlling for vehicle type, which had by far the strongest bivariate association with vehicle registration of any variable in the analysis (Chi-square=949.6, p<.0001). Results: Bivariate analysis: Among vehicles occupied by a fatally injured worker, 35% registered to a business were less than 3 years old, vs. slightly over 17% of those registered to the driver or another individual. Seat belt use was low across all registration types and vehicle types. Belts were used by 48% of fatally injured workers in passenger cars, 29% in light trucks, and 24% in large trucks. Alcohol use by the driver was less common in business-registered vehicles (6%) than in those registered to the driver (12%) or another individual (13%). (Overall, in 94% of the vehicles for which alcohol use was recorded, the worker who died was the driver.) The proportion of drivers with invalid licenses was 3% for all business-registered vehicles and 11% for vehicles registered to individuals other than the driver. Controlling for vehicle type: The association between newer vehicles and registration to a business persisted across all vehicle types (p<.0001). For light trucks and passenger cars, higher proportions of invalid licenses were associated with vehicles registered to an individual other than the driver (p<.0001). Two associations persisted only for large trucks: driver inattention [highest for business-registered vehicles (p=.0005)]; and belt use [highest for business-registered vehicles (p=.0002)]. For light and large trucks, the association between vehicle registration and alcohol use by the driver remained (p=.0001 for light trucks, p=.02 for large trucks), with business-registered vehicles having the lowest proportions of drivers using alcohol. Conclusion: Some characteristics of work-related crashes differed by vehicle registration. Vehicles registered to businesses were associated with fewer drivers drinking alcohol (large trucks and light trucks), higher levels of belt use (large trucks), fewer invalid licenses (light trucks and passenger cars), and use of newer vehicles (all vehicle types). These results suggest that in some settings, having the employer provide a vehicle may offer safety advantages. Workers may be deterred from certain unsafe practices if they are operating someone else's vehicle, and the employer has an opportunity to exercise greater control over conditions under which vehicles are used.
The 7th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, Vienna Austria, June 6th-9th 2004