MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY AT WORK
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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. Work-related crashes include:
- Single- or multiple-vehicle crashes, on or of public roadways, which occur on the job
- Events in which a pedestrian worker (e.g., a law enforcement officer) is struck by a motor vehicle in operation, on or of a public roadway
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.1
From 2011-2020, more than 17,000 workers in the U.S. died in a work-related motor vehicle crash.1
In 2019 alone, work-related crashes cost employers $39 billion.2
- $75,000 per nonfatal injury
- $751,000 per death
Motor vehicle crashes are the 1st or 2nd leading cause of death in every major industry group.1
In 2020, 1,038 U.S. workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash (22% of all work-related deaths).1
- Among these 1,038 deaths, the Transportation and Warehousing industry had the highest share (43%), followed by Construction (14%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (9%), and Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (6%).1
An additional 536 deaths in 2020 (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.1
Work-related MVCs are not just an issue for truck, bus, or taxi drivers. 56% of workers who died in 2020 were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs.1
Of the 330 pedestrian worker fatalities in 2020, 41% occurred in just a few occupations: motor vehicle operators and construction trade workers.1
More than 1 in 3 long-haul truck drivers have experienced a serious truck crash during their career.3
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 starting in 2016, at least 800 large-truck occupants died each year – 831 in 2020.4
Texas had by far the highest number of large-truck occupant deaths in 2020 (116), followed by Florida (45), California (40) and Georgia (40). These four states accounted for over 29% of all deaths.4
In 2020, 3% of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, compared to 23% of passenger-car drivers.4
Heavy- and tractor-trailer truck drivers have the highest numbers of pedestrian deaths of any occupation: 66 in 2019.1
49% of all EMS provider fatalities were related to motor vehicle crashes during the 2013-2018 period.5
98 firefighters died as a result of motor vehicle crashes between 2010-2020.6
498 law enforcement officers died due to vehicle crashes, 28% of all line-of-duty deaths from 2011-2020.7
Motor vehicle crashes cause over 50% of work-related deaths in the oil and gas extraction industry.8
Historically, the greatest numbers of oil & gas workers killed in crashes each year were in a pick-up truck. In 2018, pick-up trucks were involved in 29 worker fatalities while semi-trucks were involved in 13 worker fatalities.8
1Bureau of Labor Statistics . Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2019-2020. Create customized tables.
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 . Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes to Employers – 2019
3CDC Vital Signs . Trucker Safety.
4National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Traffic Safety Facts: Large Trucks 2020.
5Bureau of Labor Statistics . Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2013-2018. Create customized tables.
6U.S. Fire Administration . Fire Fighter Fatalities in United States in 2010-2020
7National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund . Law Enforcement Officers died in the line-of-duty, 2011-2020
8Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.