For many, the job site is really the front seat of a motor vehicle. Modern workers spend a lot of time driving while employed. Some, like truck drivers and commercial drivers, do it almost exclusively. Others, like road construction workers, spend a lot of time behind the wheel despite not thinking of themselves as professional drivers.
You may already know that car accidents are a big risk that the general public faces, with around 40,000 people passing away every year. But did you ever consider the specific risk to workers who have no choice but to drive?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 27,000 workers lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes between 2003 and 2017. That’s merely a decade and a half, but we lost more workers than the student enrollment at many major colleges.
In fact, it’s such a problem that the CDC noted that car accidents are the No. 1 reason that workers lose their lives on the job. When looking at work-related deaths, nothing is more dangerous. Not ladder falls. Not electrocutions. Not using heavy machinery. Those are all common risks, but simple motor vehicle accidents take more lives.
Other key facts
The above gives you a quick overview of the problem, but let’s take a moment to break it down a bit further. Here are a few more key facts from the CDC, using the statistics from 2017, when 1,299 workers lost their lives in work-related vehicle accidents:
- Those 1,299 workers made up a quarter of all on-the-job deaths.
- 40% of those who died worked in the Transportation and Warehousing industry.
- 11% of the deaths impacted the construction industry.
- The next two top industries were wholesale and retail, at 9%, and agriculture, hunting, fishing and forestry, at 7%.
- Most of the workers who died, at 55%, did not hold motor vehicle operator jobs. That is to say, they did not primarily drive for work. This shows that the issue does not only exist for taxi drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers and the like.
- Deaths included both drivers and those simply riding in vehicles that crashed. In some cases, pedestrians got hit, as well.
The biggest takeaway here is that all workers need to understand this risk. It’s not just your morning commute that is dangerous. If you ever have to drive for work, it elevates the risks that you face. You need to understand that when undertaking any task.
Have you gotten injured in a car accident while at work or while performing some duties of your employment? If so, those injuries could change your life. It’s crucial that you understand your rights and the legal options you have.