When most people think of on-the-job-injuries, they think of falls, working with heavy machinery, factory or construction site injuries, and even chemical spills and exposures. However, the single leading cause of work-related deaths is far more commonplace: motor vehicle accidents.
Over one-third of all work-related fatalities stem from motor vehicles. According to data kept by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1,300 American workers are killed each year in highway crashes. Over 300 more American workers die each year in crashes that occur on company property, or non-highway roads. And nearly 350 American workers die each year when, as pedestrians, they are struck by cars and other vehicles.
This cost in human life is astounding – and these do not even include the thousands of U.S. workers injured or disabled by work-related motor-vehicle crashes each year.
Yet there is another level of cost, as well. Motor vehicle accidents cost American employers almost $60 billion each year. Each fatality, in addition to the very real personal costs, costs employers over a half a million dollars, while non-fatal motor vehicle injuries cost employers almost $75,000 each.
As our car accident attorneys know only too well, unlike other types of on-the-job injuries, motor vehicle accidents span nearly every job type and industry.
Lack of Regulation
Perhaps most obviously, professional drivers (such as bus or truck drivers) may be involved in on-the job crashes. But nearly every other type of worker may, frequently or from time to time, driver a work-owned or personal vehicle for purposes of their employment. For example, workers may be sent to call on current or prospective customers or clients, may be asked to drive to purchase or obtain goods or supplies, or may be sent on other errands.
While bus and truck drivers are heavily regulated to prevent crashes, workers who drive smaller vehicles in the course of their employment need only have a valid personal driver’s license.
In this regulatory gap, employers can enact policies that will help reduce the risks for their employee drivers and the public. For example, employers can enact policies that aim to eliminate or reduce distracted driving, a principal roadway risk. Employers can prohibit workers from eating or drinking while driving, talking on cell phones, or texting.
Our car accident attorneys encourage all employers to enact such policies, and provide regular safe-driving training for all employees who drive on the job. In fact, the failure to adopt such policies, particularly when driving is a common part of some employees’ job duties, may well be negligent. If you have questions about how to draft or implement such policies, talk to a qualified attorney.
If you have any questions about a serious injury or wrongful death, please give us a call us at 312-527-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. You can also learn more by following us on Twitter, reviewing our LinkedIn or Avvo.com pages, and by reviewing our website.