Far too many American workers die or are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents while on the job. Truck drivers, delivery vans, bus drivers, motorcoach drivers, big rig truckers, taxi drivers, and more get behind the wheel every day to do a job that is important to all of us. By doing so, they become vulnerable to a higher risk of harm than they should have to face while making a living for themselves and their families.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more workers die in this country from injuries resulting for motor vehicle accidents than any other kind of harm. According to the BLS:
- 1,275 workers died each year from crashes on public highways;
- 311 workers died each year in crashes that occurred off the highway or on industrial premises;
- 338 pedestrian workers died each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.
May 2014: New NIOSH Goals Set to Fight Against Danger of Crash Injury to Workers Behind the Wheel
This month, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has issued a new initiative by the federal government to combat the danger facing American workers dying or being seriously injured while working on the job in motor vehicle accidents.
Explains Dr. John Howard, Director of the CDC’s NIOSH:
Millions of workers in the United States are exposed to hazards of motor vehicle traffic, as vehicle operators, passengers, or pedestrians. For some of these workers, notably drivers of large trucks and buses, federal safety regulations provide a level of protection through rules that govern hours of driving, vehicle inspection, load safety, fitness to drive, and numerous other areas. For many other workers, especially those who operate light vehicles, safety regulations that cover driving for work are limited. Whatever the regulatory environment, the safety of workers who drive on the job is a responsibility shared by many ̶ employers, workers, policy makers, vehicle manufacturers, and the research community.
NIOSH Report Available Online
This NIOSH report is the result of five years’ research by its NIOSH’s Center for Motor Vehicle Safety, entitled “Strategic Plan for Research and Prevention, 2014-2018,” the entire report is available online as a full-text pdf file. (Just click on the image to read the report.)
This new May 2014 report is more that an analysis of statistics — it establishes the five goals set by NIOSH over the next four years to better protect workers from traffic accidents and fatal crashes. Those goals are:
- Advance understanding of risk factors associated with work-related crashes
- Reduce the incidence and severity of work-related crashes through engineering and technology-based safety interventions
- Reduce the incidence and severity of work-related crashes through evidence-based road safety management policies
- Reduce work-related crashes and injuries through national and international research collaborations
- Enhance availability of guidance and products that help prevent work-related crashes.
What does this mean?
The federal government is working to decrease the risk of serious injury or death for workers who drive motor vehicles as part of their job duties, particularly big rig semi truck drivers and motorcoach / commercial bus drivers. Through the CDC’s research efforts, research has been done and now specific steps have been established to reduce the risk of harm to these workers — and in the future, we may see more recommendations for regulatory changes to protect these workers on the job.