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Workers at-risk behind the wheel

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2019 | Workers' Compensation

Many workers utilize company vehicles to get to and from job sites. Whether you work as a repair technician, in landscaping, construction and more, you likely fit this description. A company vehicle is a necessary tool for completing your work.

Unfortunately, driving a company vehicle isn’t much safer than driving a personal vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities and have been for decades. You should employ the same or better safe driving habits behind the wheel of a company vehicle as you would your own vehicle.

More than three-quarters of all fatal worker-related crash victims were the driver of the company vehicle. Of course, passengers and bystanders are also vulnerable to becoming victims of a fatal crash, but these accidents kill the driver far more often.

Why is this? There are several commonalities, such as:

  • Insufficient seat belt use: Most people know that best way to reduce your chances of injury or death is to wear your seat belt, but more than two-thirds of motor vehicle crashes involving workers were not wearing theirs. By comparison, 41 percent of overall fatal motor vehicle crash victims in 2017 in North Carolina weren’t wearing their seat belts.
  • Use of large vehicles: Aside from semi-trucks, pickup trucks were involved in the second-most worker-related fatal crashes. This could be due to outdated safety technology on some pickup trucks.
  • Age and sex of the workers: The most vulnerable age for worker-related motor vehicle crashes is workers between 30 to 34 years old. Injuries to people in this age range can have lifelong effects that require extended medical care. Additionally, over 90 percent of workers killed in crashes were men.

Your employers role in your safety

While you do your best to ensure your safety on the job, your employer must do their part. Your company has a duty to equip employee vehicles with seatbelts for all passengers, train you to use all safety features, and establish driving schedules that avoid you having to avoid fatigue and allow for appropriate rest breaks. These things, in addition to safe driving practices, can help you reach each jobsite safely.