Behind the Wheel at Work

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Behind the Wheel at Work is an eNewsletter bringing you the latest news from the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety.

Volume 5 Number 3 September 2020

Adapting Motor Vehicle Safety Practices During Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What have we learned about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on crashes? What do we not yet know? How can employers reduce the risk of exposure for workers who drive as part of their job? Let’s explore this topic as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

Update on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response

While the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety will continue to share valuable safety information in our quarterly Behind the Wheel at Work eNewsletter, you can stay up to date on the COVID-19 response in real time on CDC’s COVID-19 webpage or sign up for CDC’s COVID-19 newsletter.

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Effects of COVID-19 on Crashes

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of public health measures to slow disease spread have been implemented throughout the U.S. These measures have impacted many aspects of our lives, including road travel and safety. In our last issue, we mentioned that adopting journey management principles can protect the health of your workforce and reduce the risk of crashes and injuries as businesses reopen. This month, we’re looking at what we do and don’t know about the effects of COVID-19 on crashes in the general public as well as the impact on workers.

The Bottom Line: Road travel has been greatly impacted as a result of COVID-19. Instances of increased speeding and seat belt non-use are occurring in the general public, and the rate of fatal crashes in the U.S. has increased. Employers can:

  • Reinforce motor vehicle safety messages and the importance of complying with traffic safety laws;
  • Educate drivers on the risks associated with speeding and the critical importance of seat belt use;
  • Ensure drivers have access to information on dealing with stress and anxiety; and
  • Stay up to date on reopening of commercial license facilities and when the waivers for renewals expire.
Safety Tip
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While driving the posted speed limit on a dry road may be safe, the same speed on a wet or icy road or at night may be unsafe and too fast for the conditions.

How to Prevent the Spread

icons of various types of motor vehicles

CDC has issued guidance related to transportation and COVID-19. Below is a summary of some of the key reminders for employers to reduce the risk of exposure for workers who drive as part of their job.

The Bottom Line: You can take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during vehicle transport.

New NSC Resource

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As part of its SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns initiative, the National Safety Council has a new resource to guide employers through the process of safely resuming traditional work and operations. Learn more about transportation considerations.

New CMVS Strategic Plan, 2020-2029

The NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Strategic Plan, 2020-2029

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center for Motor Vehicle Safety’s (CMVS) strategic plan for 2020-2029 is now available. The plan identifies research needs for four priority industry sectors and describes how we envision those stakeholders will put research results into practice. Its purpose is to guide NIOSH-funded research to prevent work-related motor vehicle crashes – the leading cause of workplace deaths in the U.S. – and encourage collaboration between the CMVS and external partners.

Image to Promote Speed Safety

You can download and share these images within your organization to promote safe speeds.

More Information