Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of work-related fatalities in America. While we often attribute these types of accidents with truck drivers, anyone who drives or rides in a motor vehicle for work is at risk of an occupational crash.
Commercial drivers are in danger
Nearly every industry requires some sort of on-the-job driving. It may be running out to get office supplies, meeting clients off site, delivering products, materials and equipment, or moving construction vehicles. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that in 2017 alone, there were 1,299 American workers who died in a work-related vehicle crash. This accounts for 25% of all deaths linked to work.
Reports found that 40% of accidents occurred within the transportation and warehousing industry. 11% occurred in construction, 9% in wholesale or retail and 7% in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
Similarly, most fatalities involved large trucks such as semis, tankers and tractor trailers. They are followed closely by pickup trucks, delivery vehicles and passenger vehicles.
Truck drivers, first responders and extraction workers
As you may assume, long-haul truckers are the most likely to be involved in a crash. Reports say that one in three have experienced a serious crash while working. NIOSH says that there is an increase of both trucks registered on the road and miles that those trucks are driving, meaning that naturally, there are more truck drivers involved in accidents.
Emergency responders and extraction workers are other groups at high risk for fatal crashes. Emergency medical services (EMS) providers, firefighters, and law enforcement are some of the top emergency responders that are in fatal accidents. In the oil and gas industry, 50% of work-related deaths are caused by vehicle accidents, most often involving a pick-up truck.
While these industries are at the highest risk for accidents on the road, everyone who operates or rides in a motor vehicle could still end up in a crash. It is important that they know what legal options can help with their recovery.