Crash Facts

car crash accident on the road with location pointer - car crash icon

Millions of workers drive or ride in a vehicle as part of their jobs, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States.1 All workers are at risk of crashes, whether they drive light or heavy vehicles, or whether driving is a main or incidental job duty.

The Problem
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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.1

The Lives
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From 2003-2018, more than 29,000 workers in the U.S. died in a work-related motor vehicle crash.1

The Costs
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In 2013 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $25 billion.2

  • $65,000 per nonfatal injury
  • $671,000 per death
Worker Groups

Motor vehicle crashes are the 1st or 2nd leading cause of death in every major industry group.1

In 2018, 1,276 U.S. workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash (24% of all work-related deaths).3

  • Among these 1,276 deaths, the Transportation and Warehousing industry had the highest share (38%), followed by Construction (12%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (9%), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (7%).
  • The highest proportion of roadway fatalities involved semi, tractor-trailer, and tanker trucks (38%), followed by pickup trucks (17%), delivery trucks/vans (9%) and automobiles (7%).4

An additional 550 deaths in 2018 (11% of all work-related deaths) involved workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle off a public road, or pedestrians struck by motor vehicles.3

Work-related MVCs are not just an issue for truck, bus, or taxi drivers. 57% of workers who died in 2018 were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs.5

Of the 325 pedestrian worker fatalities in 2018, 46% occurred in just a few occupations: heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, construction occupations (trades workers, laborers, and highway maintenance), and grounds maintenance workers.5

More than 1 in 3 long-haul truck drivers have experienced a serious truck crash during their career.6

Crash deaths of occupants of large trucks (above 10,000 pounds) are increasing. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of deaths held steady at 650 to 700 deaths per year, but between 2015 and 2018, the number increased from 665 to 885 – a 25% increase.7

The number of large trucks registered and large-truck miles driven are also increasing, as are overall large-truck crash rates based on miles driven.7

Texas had by far the highest number of large-truck occupant deaths in 2018 (137), followed by Florida (53), California (45), and Georgia (34). These four states accounted for almost 1/3 of all deaths.7

In 2018, 3% of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, compared to 25% of passenger-car drivers.7

Heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers have the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths of any occupation: 67 in 2018.5

49% of all EMS provider fatalities were related to motor vehicle crashes during the 2013-2018 period.4

109 firefighters died as a result of motor vehicle crashes between 2008-2018.8

564 law enforcement officers died due to vehicle crashes, 31% of all line-of-duty deaths from 2005-2016.9

Motor vehicle crashes cause over 50% of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry.4

Historically, the greatest numbers of oil & gas workers killed in crashes each year were in a pick-up truck. In 2017, large trucks became the most common type of vehicle.10

1Bureau of Labor Statistics [2004-2019]. TABLE A-2. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, all United States, 2003-2018external icon.

NOTE: Most of the vehicles associated with workplace MVC fatalities are “motorized land vehicles,” (e.g., cars, trucks, buses, vans), defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as those “which are operated primarily on highways and other public roadways and used for transportation, hauling, delivering, and emergencies.” However, some fatalities, particularly those which occur off public roadways, involve industrial vehicles such as farm tractors, mobile machines such as cranes and pavers, and all-terrain vehicles.

2NETS [2016]. Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes to Employers – 2015external icon

3Bureau of Labor Statistics [2019]. TABLE A-2. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides, all United States, 2018excel iconexternal icon.

4Bureau of Labor Statistics [2019]. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2018external icon. Create customized tables.

5Bureau of Labor Statistics [2019]. TABLE A-6. Fatal occupational injuries resulting from transportation incidents and homicides by occupation, all United States, 2018excel iconexternal icon

6CDC Vital Signs [2015]. Trucker Safety.

7NHTSA [2020]. Traffic Safety Facts: Large Trucks 2018 Dataexternal icon.

8U.S. Fire Administration [2009-2019]. Fire Fighter Fatalities in United States in 2008-2018external icon.

9National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

10Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

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Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020