Woman buckling her seat belt

Stay Safe When You Drive or Ride on the Job

Driving or riding in a vehicle as part of your job can add to your risk of injury. Here we focus on cars and trucks that you may might use during your workday and on age-based restrictions. The most common driving job in retail is delivering items such as flowers, beverages, medicines, and food.

Many of the following Tips for Staying Safe also apply to your commute, even though that is generally not considered part of your work.

Tips for Staying Safe

  • Make sure you know about your employer’s motor vehicle safety program. Generally, the program covers these subjects:
    • Driver training
    • Employee and employer responsibilities
    • Seatbelt use
    • Distracted and impaired driving
    • Managing how tired you get
    • Emergency and non-emergency procedures
    • Rules for inspecting and maintaining vehicles you use
  • If your employer does not have a safety program, ask your supervisor how you can safely operate the motor vehicle.
  • Make sure your vehicle works properly.
  • Always use seat belts, obey speed limits, and keep a safe following distance.
  • Stay focused on the driving task by avoiding distractions.
    • Don’t talk on hand-held cell phones or use other handheld devices. Avoid hands-free phones too – any phone conversation can be a distraction.
    • Don’t text.
    • Don’t adjust controls.
    • Don’t eat or drink.
    • Don’t be distracted by passengers.
  • Slow down when you get near intersections.
  • Drive cautiously, especially when you see objects in or next to the road.
  • Make sure you are well rested before you start driving.

According to Federal Labor Law…

  • If you are younger than 17 years old
    • You may not drive motor vehicles on public roads as part of your job—even if you have a valid state driver’s license.
    • You may not ride on or hang onto the outside of a motor vehicle while working, such as helping to transport and deliver goods.
  • If you are at least 17 years old
    • You may drive cars and small trucks (less than 6,000 pounds) on public roads as part of your job, but only in some cases and if all these rules are met:
      • You have a valid driver’s license.
      • Your driving is limited to daylight hours.
      • You successfully completed a state-approved driver education course and have no moving violations when hired.
      • You don’t drive more than a third of your workday, or a fifth of your work time in a workweek. For example, that equals 1 hour in a 3-hour workday or 3 hours in a 15-hour workweek.
      • The vehicle has seatbelts for the driver and all passengers, and your employer has instructed you that you must wear a seat belt while driving the vehicle.
    • Your driving may not involve these types of work:
      • Making urgent, time-sensitive deliveries (such as flowers or packages).
      • Making route deliveries or route sales.
      • Driving any vehicle other than a car or truck (for example, a bus or a motorcycle).
      • Driving more than 30 miles from your workplace.
      • Transporting more than three passengers, including coworkers.
      • Making more than two trips from your workplace in any single day to deliver goods to a customer or transport passengers other than co-workers.
      • Towing vehicles.
  • If you are at least 18 years old
    • You may drive on the job.
    • You must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial motor vehicle, such as a large truck.

According to State Driving Laws…

If you are at least 17 years old and meet all the requirements for on-the-job driving under Federal labor laws, you must still meet the requirements of driving laws in your own state.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws designed to help new drivers under age 18 gain driving skills and experience under lower-risk conditions. All GDL laws require a three-stage process—learner’s permit (supervised driving), intermediate (independent driving with restrictions), and unrestricted driving. As drivers move through these stages, they are given extra driving privileges. Depending on the state, these may include driving at night or with teen passengers.

State laws on texting and use of hand-held cell phones may also be stricter for drivers younger than 18 years old.


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States among young people aged 16 to 24 years. In most of these crashes, the young worker was driving the vehicle.

Find Out More

Work-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes: Preventing Injuries to Young Drivers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2013-152

CDC Injury Prevention and Control, Motor Vehicle Safety

Hazardous Occupations Order No. 2. Youth Employment Provision and Driving Automobiles and Trucks under the Fair Labor Standards (FLSA)pdf iconexternal icon

State Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) Lawsexternal icon

State Laws on Cell Phones and Textingexternal icon

Keys2drive: The AAA Guide to Teen Driving Safetyexternal icon

NHTSA Teen Driver Education Programexternal icon

National Safety Council: Safety on the Roadexternal icon

National Sleep Foundation: Teens and Sleepexternal icon

Occupational Injuries and Deaths Among Young Workers 1998 – 2007. (MMWR. April 23, 2010)


NIOSH [2015]. NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

NIOSH [2014]. NIOSH Youth Worker Safety and Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division [2004]. Youth Rules! Teen Driving on the Jobpdf iconexternal icon.

Page last reviewed: May 21, 2018