Burden, Need, and Impact

NIOSH strives to maximize its impact in occupational safety and health. The Center for Motor Vehicle Safety identifies priorities to guide investments, and bases those priorities on the evidence of burden, need and impact. Below are the priority areas for the CMVS.

Burden: Millions of workers drive or ride in a motor vehicle as part of their jobs. Work-related motor vehicle crashes affect workers in all industries and occupations, whether they drive heavy trucks, emergency vehicles, pickup trucks, or cars, and whether driving is a primary or occasional part of the job. Work-related crashes take a heavy toll on workers, their families, and employers:

  • In 2017, motor vehicle crashes made up 35% of all work-related injury deaths in the United States, and were the first or second leading cause of death in every major industry group1
  • 45% of the crash-related deaths in 2017 involved workers employed as motor vehicle operators, with the remaining 55% employed in a range of other occupations2
  • In 2013 alone, motor vehicle crashes at work cost U.S. employers $25 billion – $65,000 per nonfatal injury and $671,000 per death3
1BLS [2018]. Table A-2. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, all United States, 2017Cdc-excelExternal. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
2BLS [2018]. Table A-6. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides by occupation, all United States, 2017Cdc-excelExternal. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
3NETS (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety) [2016]. Cost of motor vehicle crashes to employers – 2015External. Vienna, VA: Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

Need: NIOSH is the only part of the U.S. federal government whose mission includes preventing crashes and resulting injuries for all worker populations, not just a specific worker group. Our research and outreach focuses on truck drivers; workers in other high-risk jobs such as emergency responders, oil and gas workers, and taxi drivers; and drivers of light vehicles, for whom driving may not be the primary job duty. Our research emphasizes development and evaluation of safety interventions that are both effective and practical in preventing work-related motor vehicle crashes.

Impact: Through collaborations with partners across all sectors – industry, labor, professional and trade associations, non-profits, government agencies, and academia – NIOSH has a strong understanding of the individual, organizational, and environmental factors that contribute to work-related crashes. Our research is published in scientific journals and presented at scientific and industry conferences. To promote the adoption of our research results in the workplace, we contribute to consensus standards widely used by employers and industry to guide vehicle design and testing and motor vehicle safety management. We also communicate crash -prevention information directly to workers and employers through user-friendly webpages, social media (e.g., @NIOSH_MVSafety), animated images (GIFs), the eNewsletter Behind the Wheel at Work, and many other publications.

Page last reviewed: March 7, 2019