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Motor Vehicle Safety

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Hazards and Solutions

Most of the occupational fatalities occur on public highways where there are seat belt requirements and traffic laws between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The following references aid in recognizing motor vehicle hazards, and provide examples of possible solutions.

Hazard Recognition
  • Motor Vehicle Safety at Work. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Provides information on the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety.
  • Work-Related Roadway Crashes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-137, (March 2004). Includes information on background and trends, worker characteristics, industry and occupation characteristics, and more. From 1992 through 2001, roadway crashes were the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the US, accounting for 13,337 civilian worker deaths (22% of all injury-related deaths).
  • NIOSH Update: Ways to Prevent Job-Related Roadway Deaths, Critical Research Areas Identified by NIOSH. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (November 6, 2003). Employee deaths in roadway crashes increased by 18.7 percent from 1992 to 2000, totaling 11,952 over the nine-year period.
  • Fatigue, Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Medical Factors in Fatal-to-the-Driver Heavy Truck Crashes. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Aircraft Accident Report SS-90/01 (NTIS PB90-917002), (Adopted February 5, 1990). From NTSB toxicological tests, the Safety Board found that 33 percent of the fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol and other drugs of abuse. Fatigue and fatigue-drug interactions were involved in more fatalities in this study than alcohol and other drugs of abuse alone. A disproportionately high percentage of drivers who used drugs are single, separated or divorced.
  • Highway Work Zones are potentially hazardous for both motor vehicle drivers and the personnel working in the zone. For additional information on these hazards and controls, see OSHA's Highway Work Zones and Signs, Signals, and Barricades Safety and Health Topics Page.
Possible Solutions
  • National Survey of Distracted and Drowsy Driving. U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), (July 2003). Reports that driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to a landmark research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Provides references to programs, information, and statistics.
  • Work-Related Roadway Crashes: Challenges and Opportunities for Prevention. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-119, (September 2003). Provides a comprehensive view of issues impacting the prevention of work-related roadway crashes. Identifies the single most important driver safety policy that employers can implement and enforce as the mandatory use of seat belts. NHTSA estimated that in 2000, the use of seat belts prevented 11,889 fatalities in the United States and could have prevented 9,238 fatalities that did occur.
  • Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC). U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Worker's Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC). Provides data from the Safety and Health and Return to Employment (SHARE) Initiative to reduce workplace injury and illness rates.
  • Highway Work Zones are potentially hazardous for both motor vehicle drivers and the personnel working in the zone. For additional information on these hazards and controls, see OSHA's Highway Work Zones and Signs, Signals, and Barricades Safety and Health Topics Page.
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