The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) continues its fight against car crashes and traffic accidents where young people are seriously injured or killed while driving a vehicle as part of their job. Statistics show that work-related deaths among Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years are caused most often by motor vehicle accidents. Kids and young adults doing all sorts of things from delivering pizzas to driving tractors or delivery trucks for a farm-related concern sadly can result in that child being injured or killed in a crash.
NIOSH research (2003 – 2010) reveals the following facts regarding young drivers driving vehicles as part of their work duties:
- 843 workers between the ages of 16 to 24 died in motor vehicle crashes at work.
- These deaths made up 22% of all on the job, workplace fatalities for this young adult (16-24 age) group.
- In 67% of these crashes, sadly it was the young adult driving the vehicle on the job that was involved in the crash.
New Publications From NIOSH and CDC – Young Workers’ Safety When Driving Vehicles For Work Duties
This month, NIOSH published two new fact sheets for distribution among parents of these young workers as well as among the workers themselves, and another for employers. Both are designed to educate people on ways to keep young workers safe from serious injuries and death while driving as part of their job.
“Young people are the future of our workforce and bring fresh ideas and energy into the workplace, however their lack of experience may also place them at higher risk of workplace injuries,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Resources, like these fact sheets, are important in helping everyone understand how we can make the workplace safe, while embracing these new workers.”
Both fact sheets (here and here) detail the risks facing these young on-the-job drivers as well as providing recommendations on how the drivers as well as their employers and their parents can work together to minimize the danger that the driver will be involved in an accident or crash while driving a car or truck or van as part of their job and facing serious harm or death from their injuries.
The Parent Fact Sheet: When Your Child Drives as Part of Their Work – Risks Facing Young Drivers on the Job
Teenagers and young adults with a state driver’s license may work on a job that requires them to get behind the wheel as part of their job duties. They may deliver pizza, for example. They may deliver newspapers using a car or truck. Perhaps they run errands for the boss, or pick up kids from school as a part of care-taking duties.
Whenever a teen or young adult drives a vehicle for work, parents need to know that this is part of their job duties and parents should know the risks that these drivers are facing here. From the NIOSH fact sheet, for example, are the following facts – answering the question ‘why are young drivers at greater risk of serious injury or death in an accident while driving on the job?’ as NIOSH research points to these factors as contributing to higher risk of serious accidents and crashes among teenage and young drivers on the job:
- New to driving: Driving inexperience, including difficulty in recognizing and responding to traffic hazards
- Being tired: Fatigue
- Not wearing a safety belt: Inconsistent seat belt use
- Over-confidence in driving skills: Tendency to overestimate driving skills
- Wanting to please the boss: Desire to meet employer time expectations
- Social media: Distracted driving – talking on cell phones,text messaging,
- Distractions in the vehicle: adjusting controls (music), eating and drinking, or interacting with other passengers
- Just being Young: Immaturity – poor impulse control, judgment, and decision-making skills
It’s commendable for teens and young adults to have a job and to be entrusted with driving a vehicle as part of that work. However, serious car accidents kill young Americans as well as cause serious injuries that are life-altering, where long-term care is needed (therapy, surgeries, etc.) and where futures are irretrievably changed.
For those who have been injured or wrongfully died in a work-related accident or crash while driving a vehicle on the job, state laws do provide for claims to be made in the pursuit of justice. However, being prepared to prevent these tragedies from happening at all is obviously the better course, and spreading the word about these online Fact Sheets is encouraged. Be careful out there.