NIOSH conducts and funds projects covering work-related motor vehicle safety involving law enforcement, fleet safety, the oil and gas extraction industry, and emergency responders, among other topics. Explore the tabs below to learn about our current projects:

Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative

This project coordinates the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, with the primary goal to advance prevention of motor vehicle-related incidents among workers across all industry sectors. Currently the project focuses on the following NIOSH efforts: disseminating and implementing the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety strategic plan for 2020-2029; supporting the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) goals related to work-related motor vehicle safety; and supporting complementary initiatives by partner organizations to promote work-related motor vehicle safety.

Project Contact: Srinivas Konda, MPH
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2004-2029

Contribution of in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) to driver safety in OGE

This research project will help to better understand the contributions of in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) to driver safety and motor vehicle crash (MVC) reduction in the oil and gas extraction (OGE) industry. Specifically, this research will: identify driving patterns and risky driving behaviors of workers in the OGE industry, identify IVMS-recorded driving metrics and driver behaviors that are predictive of MVCs and MVC-related injuries, and identify IVMS-related fleet management practices which may be associated with both safer and more risky driving behaviors. This research project will focus on an understudied group of drivers who drive extensively for work but aren’t considered professional drivers.

Project Contact: Jennifer Bell, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2020-2024

Seat Belt Use among Workers Who Drive as Part of Their Job: What’s Not Clicking?

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of fatalities in the oil and gas extraction (OGE) industry, and seat belts are a proven method of reducing injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash. This project will use qualitative research methods to determine barriers to seat belt use among workers engaged in well-servicing for the oil and gas extraction industry. Through focus groups with managers/supervisors and interviews with workers, the research team will collect information on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding seat belt use. The findings will help inform potential solutions and guide the development of new resources and strategies aimed at increasing seat belt use in this industry.

Project Contact: Rosa Rodríguez-Acosta, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2018-2022

Improving Driver Vehicle Interface (DVI) in Police Cruisers for Operational Safety

This project will address the problem of perceptual-motor distraction triggered by drivers of patrol vehicles interacting with in-vehicle equipment, identifying design features of the driver-vehicle interface (DVI) that may contribute to driver distraction. The research has three phases: an exploratory mockup study to evaluate the relationship between police officers’ visual-manual job routines and the in-cab DVI design; digital human modelling to further examine the DVI design; and a confirmatory mockup study that will modify the original mockup layout based on results of the digital human modelling study to identify the best possible design options. These improved design options are expected to result in reduced eyes-off-the-road time, easier equipment access, and reduced visual obstruction.

Project Contact: Jinhua Guan, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2018-2022

Evaluating an Intervention Designed to Reduce Fatigue among Taxi Drivers

The main goal of this project is to reduce fatigue among taxi drivers and other drivers-for-hire, who are at risk of fatigue-related motor vehicle crashes. These individuals work long and irregular hours and may be driving as a second job. The research has two parts: 1) the development of eLearning training on fatigue management targeting drivers-for-hire, and 2) an experimental study evaluating the effectiveness of the training, along with feedback provided to drivers through wearable activity monitors, in reducing fatigue levels. Pre- and post-module knowledge tests will be embedded in the training to measure drivers’ knowledge and attitudes about fatigue management.

Project Contact: Cammie Chaumont Menéndez, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2018-2022

Protecting Oil Workers through Enhanced Surveillance, Exposure Assessments, and Control Evaluations

The purpose of this project is to reduce injuries, illnesses, and harmful exposures experienced by oil and gas extraction workers in the U.S.. Project components are: enhanced surveillance of fatal and nonfatal injuries, including motor vehicle crashes; systematic field-based exposure assessments to identify the potential for acute and chronic health impacts; and identification and evaluation of engineering controls, safety and health practices, and personal protective equipment used to control exposures during U.S. on-shore drilling processes.

Project Contact: Kyla Hagan-Haynes
Western States Division
Project Period: 2017-2022

North American Fatigue Management Program Effectiveness (NAFMP) in Reducing Commercial Truck Driver Fatigue

This project will evaluate the effectiveness and cost benefits of the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP). Results will guide future comprehensive safety initiatives, rulemaking, and programs to reduce truck driver fatigue. Study findings may lead to: (1) revisions to the format, content, and the method of delivery for the training materials in the NAFMP, (2) increased use of NAFMP by carriers and commercial vehicle drivers, and (3) driver fatigue research advancements.

Project Contact: Guang Chen, M.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2017-2021 (Research outputs ongoing)

Online Training for Law Enforcement to Reduce Risks Associated with Shift Work and Long Work Hours

This project will develop an online training program for law enforcement using expertise from police researchers and trainers. Effectiveness of the training will be assessed through a pre- and post-test pilot study using actigraphy to examine sleep and activity patterns of police officers working night shift before, immediately after, and 6 weeks after they complete the training. After training, officers will also be asked to assess the training for clarity, salience, appeal, persuasiveness, and knowledge retained.

Project Contact: Cammie Chaumont Menéndez, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2016-2021 (Research outputs ongoing)

Work Organization Risks to Short-haul Truck Drivers’ Health and Safety

As a complement to the NIOSH U.S. National Survey of Long Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury, this study will investigate work organization and personal factors that contribute to health and safety outcomes in short-haul truck drivers. In addition to publishing results, the research team will develop tailored products that raise awareness of factors that present risks to short-haul drivers’ health and safety. The project is also expected to lead to future intervention evaluation research in this worker population.

Project Contact: Jeannie Nigam, Ph.D.
Division of Applied Research and Technology
Project Period: 2014-2018 (Research outputs ongoing)

Evaluation of an Occupational Motor-Vehicle Crash Prevention Program in Law Enforcement

This project is evaluating the effectiveness of a comprehensive motor-vehicle crash prevention program in a large metropolitan police department in reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries due to such crashes. Based on the results, the project team will develop a plan to encourage other law enforcement agencies to replicate elements of the program found to be effective. Project funding is through an interagency agreement with the National Institute of Justice.

Project Contact: Hope M. Tiesman, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2013-2019 (Research outputs ongoing)

Taxi Driver Survey on Motor Vehicle Safety and Workplace Violence

This study focuses on two of the leading causes of taxicab driver fatalities: motor vehicle crashes and workplace violence. For the motor vehicle safety component, taxi drivers in two U.S. cities respond to a survey designed to collect information on prevalence and frequency of adverse motor vehicle events and injuries, as well as road safety attitudes and behaviors. This information will allow NIOSH researchers to identify and describe the road safety risk factors and protective factors for taxicab drivers. These findings will also contribute to developing prevention initiatives for reducing work-related motor vehicle crashes among taxi drivers.

Project Contact: Cammie Chaumont Menéndez, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2012-2019 (Research outputs ongoing)

Reducing Firefighter Vehicle Crashes: Simulation and Intervention

Excessive speed has been identified as one of the major contributing factors for fire apparatus crashes and overturns. Adapting and using advanced technologies to assist the driver in controlling the speed of fire apparatus in emergency response situations is a promising approach to reduce the risk of fire engine crashes and overturns. This study will generate scientific knowledge and identify design requirements for an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) with “Electronic Horizon” specifically targeted for fire service pumpers and tankers, using a driving simulator and virtual-reality technology. It will also assess the effects of different ADAS features and parameters on the safety performance of experienced and novice drivers during various emergency response situations and driving environments. Vehicle manufacturers and the fire service will use findings to improve the operational safety of fire apparatus.

Project Contact: Peter Simeonov, Ph.D.
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2012-2019 (Research outputs ongoing)

Partnering with Industry to Build Safe EMS Work Environments

This project builds on previous NIOSH research aimed at reducing or eliminating vehicle crash-related injuries and fatalities to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers in ambulance patient compartments. NIOSH research data will be used to directly influence changes to the General Services Administration’s federal specification for the Star-of-Life Ambulance, which governs the design of all ambulances purchased by the U.S. government and most state and local entities. Further, NIOSH is working directly with the Ambulance Manufacturers Division of the National Truck Equipment Association, which represents the builders of 90% of the ambulances built in North America, to expand the consensus safety standards for the patient compartment.

Project Contact: Jim Green
Division of Safety Research
Project Period: 2008-2019 (Research outputs ongoing)

New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program

The primary aim of this project is to expand state-based capacity for occupational health surveillance in New Hampshire (NH). Project surveillance activities include analysis of unconventional data sources from other agencies and organizations, including commercial motor vehicle crash data. In collaboration with the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety researchers will: (1) evaluate risks associated with commercial motor vehicle operation and truck driving by analyzing commercial motor vehicle crashes reported in the Integrated Database Management System by NH State Police; (2) explore additional data sources on large truck and bus safety (i.e. Traffic Safety Facts Annual report, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries; and, (3) leverage existing state and national networks for outreach and education on recommendations for interventions, based on the findings of in-depth analysis.

Project Contact: Karla Armenti, ScD
University of New Hampshire
Project Period: 2021-2026

California Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance

The overall purpose of this proposal is to maintain and enhance the capacity of the California occupational health surveillance program to identify state priorities and guide efforts to improve and protect worker safety and health; monitor statistical and other trends and progress over time; and develop and distribute prevention and intervention recommendations. Project will explore the use of Fatality Analysis Reporting System as a data source for fatal work-related motor vehicle crashes and will conduct at least three investigations of work-related motor vehicle crashes. In addition, our program will consult with one of the leading State-based Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program investigators who will advise on our investigation protocols and the development and implementation of targeted motor vehicle safety videos and other interventions such as hazard alerts and newsletters.

Project Contact: Robert Harrison
California Department of Public Health
Project Period: 2021-2026

Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance

The goal of this research is to perform occupational injury and illness surveillance in Kentucky (KY), which ranks as the 20th-worst state for fatal occupational injuries/illnesses, and 12th-worst for nonfatal occupational injury rates. Novel areas targeted in the KY Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance (KOSHS) application include dump truck, semi-truck, and pedestrian worker fatalities, fatality investigations, and high commercial vehicle crash locations, rates, ratios, and savings.

Project Contact: Terry Bunn, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky Injury Prevention Research Center
Project Period: 2021-2026

Mechanisms Linking Daily Work Conditions and Work-Related Strain Reactions to Unsafe Commuting

The purpose of the study is to determine how daily work conditions and work-related strain reactions influence unsafe commuting behaviors. One hundred full-time employees complete surveys daily and their driving and in-vehicle behaviors such as attention, distraction, and fatigue are observed for eight consecutive weeks of daily commuting. It is expected that the findings from this project will inform worker safety in almost all occupations.

Project Contact: Charles Calderwood, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Project Period: 2021-2025

Coordination of Vehicle Lighting and Markings for Improved Worker Safety

The goal of the research study is to examine how perceptual grouping of warning lights and paint and reflective markings on front-line service vehicles affect motorists’ response time to detect the situation and decision making such as braking or steering when approaching vehicles that are on or near roadways. Response times to detect potential hazards and the incremental time and accuracy in decision-making to avoid striking vehicles or workers will be measured.

Project Contact: Mark S Rea, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Project Period: 2021-2023

Longitudinal Study of Fatigue, Stress, and Work Organization as Risk Factors for Motor Vehicle Crash Risk in Surgical Residents

This main purpose of the study is to identify factors of surgical resident well-being (sleep, fatigue, and stress), work organization in residency (patient caseload, duty start/end times, shift duration), and driving performance that predict motor vehicle crash risk (MVC). Well-being and driving outcomes of surgical residents such as sleep (wristwatch actigraphy), occupational stress (salivary cortisol), and crash and drowsy driving risk (driving simulator) will be measured over 18 months. It is expected that the findings of the study will influence polices about duty hours and caseloads and likely reduce MVCs among surgical residents.

Project Contact: Benjamin Mcmanus, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Project Period: 2020-2023

Washington Occupational Injury and Illness Surveillance and Prevention Program

This project includes a large component for surveillance of occupational injury and illness in the trucking industry in the state of Washington. Specific aims include: (1) establish a trucking advisory group; (2) publish baseline measures of injuries, trends, and costs; (3) implement an injury surveillance system; (4) develop and implement case and employer follow up protocols; (5) conduct industry-wide surveys of employers and employees; and (6) identify opportunities for interventions to reduce hazards and injuries within trucking.

Project Contact: David Bonauto, M.D.
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Project Period: 2010-2020

Search for Extramural Federally-funded Projects on Motor Vehicle Safety

Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) is a searchable database of federally funded biomedical research projects conducted at universities, hospitals, and other research institutions. The RePORT database covers research projects funded from fiscal year 1972 to the present.

More information may also be found at the NIOSH Office of Extramural Programs website.