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Motor Vehicle Safety photo showing truck rollover crash

NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety

Coordinates and promotes research and prevention activities related to motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of work-related fatalities among U.S. workers.

Professional Safety Asks: What prompted NIOSH to create a Center for Motor Vehicle Safety?

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

Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Thirty-six percent of occupational fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with motor vehicles. Between 2003-2010, on average:

  • 1,275 workers died each year from 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.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Motor vehicle crashes have economic costs in addition to human costs.  In 1998-2000, motor vehicle crash injuries occurring on and off the job were estimated to cost employers nearly US $60 billion annually. On average, a fatality occurring on the job cost a business over $500,000 USD in direct and liability costs, and each nonfatal injury cost nearly $74,000 USD.*

*Source: NHTSA [2003].  The economic burden of traffic crashes on employers: Costs by state and industry and by alcohol and restraint use (Publication DOT HS 809 682).  Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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.  In the United States, companies and drivers that operate large trucks and buses are covered by comprehensive safety regulations.   In contrast, there are no Federal occupational safety regulations that cover the workers who use smaller employer-provided vehicles or personal vehicles.  

For all workers who drive on the job, employer safety policies are a critical element in reducing crash risks.  Employer policies may be limited to supporting and reinforcing state traffic laws.  However, many employers choose to manage road 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. 


NIOSH Releases Two New Fact Sheets on Preventing Work-Related Motor Vehicle Injuries Among Young Drivers

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities among young people (ages 16-24) in the United States. It is important that parents, employers and drivers understand the risks that can lead to crashes among young drivers and learn how they can help prevent motor vehicle crashes among young workers.

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety has developed two fact sheets to help young drivers stay safe on the job.  These new fact sheets, one for employers and the other for parents and young workers, provide case reports, learning points and recommendations on how to prevent motor vehicle crashes on the job.  Information on federal and state laws, as well as additional resources, is also provided.

Factsheets now available in Spanish.

2013 Drive Safely Work Week Toolkit Available for Free Download

The 2013 Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW) toolkit was developed by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), a partnership of private-sector companies and the federal government. The campaign theme this year is “Gear up for safe driving: Mind ·Body ·Vehicle.” Campaign materials illustrate how maintenance of mind, body and vehicle are all connected and essential components to being a safe driver. Actionable steps are provided to help drivers be at their best behind the wheel.

The campaign was developed using the expertise of NETS’ member companies, collectively representing a fleet of more than half a million vehicles that travel in excess of 10 billion miles globally each year.

The DSWW campaign focuses on the importance of issues that include:

  • Regular vision screening;
  • Being well-rested and properly fueled;
  • Keeping your vehicle healthy through preventative maintenance; and
  • Getting the right fit to your vehicle for maximized field of vision and sustained energy.

The free DSWW toolkit provides easy-to-use Web-based resources, including facts and tips on each of the issue areas, downloadable graphics, and activities tailored for each day of the campaign week. Download at no cost via the NETS Website.

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