On-the-Job Vehicle Crashes Cost U.S. Employers $25 Billion Annually

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related injury deaths in the United States, accounting for 22,000 deaths from 2003–2014. On-the-job vehicle crashes have a devastating impact on workers and their families, communities and businesses. In 2013 alone, motor vehicle crashes cost U.S. employers $25 billion—$671,000 per death and $65,000 per nonfatal injury. Workplace crashes affect businesses through lost productivity, medical and workers’ compensation costs, liability and reputational damage. They are also a major injury risk for business travelers while abroad. 

Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work, launched today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation, explores how CDC can help businesses protect employees who drive for work in the United States and abroad. 

“For all kinds of companies, travel by road puts workers at high risk of work-related injury or death, both here in the United States and in other countries. Employers can manage these risks through a commitment to road safety supported by strong policies,” said Dr. John Howard, director of CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). “Preventing crashes takes a combined effort to address factors that may put workers at risk. Our strong collaborations with the business community help us effectively communicate our research and recommendations to prevent work-related crashes, injuries and deaths.”

Crashes are complex events, and preventing them requires businesses and employees to work together to manage numerous potential risk factors: distracted, drowsy or impaired driving; speeding; non-use of seat belts; vehicle safety; road conditions; and global travel. These statistics highlight the serious challenges businesses face:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the first or second leading cause of death in every major industry group.
  • Motor vehicle crashes represented 36 percent of all work-related injury deaths in the United States in 2014.
  • Among workers who died in motor vehicle crashes at work in 2014, 58 percent were not employed in motor vehicle operator jobs such as truck, bus and taxi drivers.
  • More than one in three long-haul truck drivers have experienced a serious truck crash during their career. 

This issue of Business Pulse highlights these challenges as well as CDC solutions, and includes a question and answer feature with Dr. Stephanie Pratt, director of the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety in CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Dane Bremer, director of Corporate Safety and Global Business Continuity for Liberty Mutual. Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work also features an interactive infographic with facts and links to CDC programs that help employers prevent crashes and reduce injuries, along with online CDC resources.

Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work is one in a series of quarterly business features created by the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization. Other Business Pulse topics to date include business continuity, safe healthcare, global health security, travelers’ health, flu prevention, healthy workforce, heart health, food safety, workplace safety, business health and lowering healthcare costs.