Motor vehicles are the number one cause of death to workers in the United States. Many assume this involves semi-trucks drivers, driving a cab or making a delivery, but millions drive while on the job even when it is not their primary role, whether as a salesperson, administrative assistant or landscaper. Keeping this in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the number of motor vehicle-related deaths while on the job.
Breaking down the numbers
The CDC found that 1,270 people died due to traffic-related deaths. It accounted for 24% of all workplace deaths in 2019, which is the most recent year with comprehensive numbers. Driving was the most common or second most common cause of death on the job in all major industries. The highest percentages were in the following:
- Transportation and warehousing were 41% of the total.
- Construction was 12% of the total.
- Wholesale and retail trade were 9% of the total.
- Administrative support, remediation and waste management tied with 7% each.
In addition, there were 577 deaths, which is 11% of all work-related deaths, that were vehicle-related. It is due to workers riding in vehicles, driving on private roads, or pedestrians struck by vehicles.
Non-fatal injuries were also common
Not every motor vehicle crash involved death, so many workers suffered brain trauma, spinal cord injury, broken bones, burns, and internal injuries. These injuries can leave workers out of work for extended periods, forcing them to find other types of work or leaving them unable to work.
Dealing with the injuries
Those injured in a motor vehicle collision should seek medical help as soon as possible. It is also smart to notify a manager or employer. This can help provide all the support information when filing a worker’s compensation claim, even when the worker dies from the injuries. It may also be possible for the injured or their family to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if others’ negligence caused the injuries. Victims or family members unsure of what to do can speak with an attorney who handles worker’s compensation or personal injury claims. They can help guide victims and family members through the entire process so they can get the benefits or compensation they rightfully deserve.