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.
Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Thirty-five percent of occupational fatalities reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with motor vehicles. Between 2003-2009, on average:
- 1308 workers died each year from crashes on public highways
- 316 workers died each year in crashes that occurred
off the highway or on industrial premises.
- 347 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 . 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.
New Global Compilation of Fleet Safety Resources for Employers
Global compilations of resources on work-related road safety are now available on the fleetsafe page (Employer Road Safety Processes, Procedures and Programs and International Web-based Resources). The current compilation focuses on guidance documents for employers, but other types of resources are being added. The site is hosted by RoadSafe, a British NGO, and is being developed through contributions from the Work-related Road Safety Project Group of the UN Road Safety Collaboration. To suggest additional resources for the fleetsafe page, please contact Stephanie Pratt.
As a member of the U.S. committee, NIOSH has contributed to the new consensus standard ISO 39001:2012, Road Traffic Safety (RTS) Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use. ISO 39001 was designed for use by any public or private organization that wishes to improve its road safety performance, develop and implement a road safety management system, and check its progress toward road safety targets. It is relevant for organizations that transport goods or people, or whose employees or contractors interact with the road system in any way in the course of doing business. ISO 39001’s requirements are placed within a framework of roads, vehicles, and users. The main body of the standard is supplemented by non-mandatory appendices that provide guidance for implementation.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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