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Motor Vehicle Safety photo showing truck rollover crash

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.

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. 


"Drive Safely Work Week" 2014 campaign materials now available

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is calling on leaders of companies and organizations to emphasize road safety for all employees—not just those who drive company vehicles— as a core component of the organization’s safety culture. This year, the theme of Drive Safely Work Week (DSWW), NETS’s signature campaign, is “Driving your safety culture home.”  NETS, a partner of the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, is a public-private partnership that aims to reduce motor vehicle crashes on and off the job.

The DSWW free toolkit for 2014 contains materials on seat belt use and distracted driving which are designed to promote a strong road safety culture in the workplace and at home. The toolkit includes materials that will help employers prepare employees for the launch of corporate seat belt and mobile device policies, along with fact sheets and checklists ready for distribution to employees and their families. It also encourages employers to integrate road safety information into their health and wellness programs.

NETS Releases Road Safety Guide for Employers

The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) has announced the publication of NETS’ Comprehensive Guide to Road Safety. The guide covers key performance indicators, organizational requirements, business case development, continuous improvement, programs and policies. It provides a good starting point for implementing a road safety program for companies and organizations of all sizes with all types of fleets, operating in the U.S. or globally. Fleet managers with existing road safety programs can also use the guide as a tool for comparison.

NIOSH is a federal liaison to the NETS Board of Directors, and contributed to development of the guide. The guide is available for free download at NETS' Road Safety Guide.

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