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Occupational Traumatic Injuries from Motor Vehicle Crashes and Incidents


Background: The risk of roadway crashes and incidents associated with on-the-job operation of motor vehicles affects millions of U.S. workers. Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Of approximately 5,700 fatalities annually reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35% are associated with motor vehicles. 

The public health toll from 2002 to 2008 included:

1354 workers died each year from crashes on public highways 

324 workers died each year in crashes that occurred
off the highway or on industrial premises. 

358 pedestrian workers died each year as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle. 

High-risk exposures include emergency response, highway construction zones, operation of farm equipment on roads, and off the highway use of commercial vehicles. 

An important goal of the NIOSH Traumatic Injury Program is the reduction of injuries and fatalities due to highway motor vehicle crashes and incidents.

Public Health Impact:   Application of evidence-based interventions may have a large impact on reducing the incidence occupational motor vehicle crashes and incidents. Workers sustaining fatal or serious injuries represent a huge toll on future years of productive life. In addition, their families are adversely affected. Any reduction in occurrence will have tremendous public health importance. In addition, reductions in occurrence will also have beneficial impacts on reducing workers’ compensation and health insurance premiums and improving the productivity of American businesses. Given the extremely short induction period between exposure and injury occurrence, CDC can make a measurable difference in a very short period of time (< 4 years).

Examples of specific research areas of interest include, but are not limited to:   An important priority is the development of innovations to apply evidence-based interventions for occupational occurrences of motor vehicle crashes and incidents. Priorities include developing new design concepts and standards that may be used by national standardization groups to update or develop design standards for specific motor vehicles, enhancing effective interventions for driver education and behavior to reduce motor vehicle incidents and crashes among professional drivers, evaluating intervention strategies for their effectiveness in reducing the number or severity work-related motor vehicle incidents and crashes, and enhancing engineering controls for the prevention of crashes and incidents or reducing the severity of traumatic injury associated with such crashes and incidents.

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