Car Accidents Cause 50% of Work Related Fatalities

Studies around the world have continually identified driver inattention as a leading factor in most car accidents and near misses, so why aren’t we treating car accidents as a serious workplace problem? An extensive research project covering 42,300 hours of driving data by 241 drivers, 82 drivers (34%) were involved in a car accident and there were 761 near misses and 8,295 critical incidents. The study found that nearly 80 per cent of crashes and 65 per cent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event with distracting activities such as mobile phone use and drowsiness the primary cause of driver inattention.


Another recent Australian report indicated that 43% of drivers regular answer their phones, 24% make calls, 16% read text messages and 8% send text messages while driving, confirming that the use of mobile phones when driving is still a major road safety problem. Given that nearly 50% OF ALL WORKPLACE DEATHS OCCUR WHILE DRIVING, there is an overwhelming need to minimise distraction during driving and to educate your drivers on the dangerous potential for car accidents. So what can fleet managers to do protect their drivers while on the road? Below are 10 easy checklist items to be aware of when implementing an improved safety policy for your drivers:

Taking safety seriously within your organisation


  1. Fatigue
    Driving when fatigued is dangerous and significantly increases the risk of a car accident. Supervisors should plan realistic schedules and drivers should be rested before departure, stop for appropriate rest breaks (every two hours, even if not feeling tired) and avoid driving during normal sleeping hours.


  1. Driver Distraction – Mobile Phones
    The use of handheld mobile phones when driving is illegal and in no circumstances should this be done. Employees who are ticketed for this behaviour will face disciplinary action by the company that could result in the loss of the company supplied vehicle and/or termination of employment. Zero use of mobile phones would significantly reduce the car accident rate!


  1. Vehicle Safety Assistance Systems
    These are systems which are designed to assist stability and manoeuvrability, and significantly reduce potential for a car accident by preventing loss of control in severe manoeuvring, braking and/or adverse weather conditions. The company should therefore have a vehicle replacement policy where it will consider the purchase and use of vehicles having following safety systems.


  1. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
    Where available ESC will be considered as standard equipment for all company supplied or financed vehicles and all vehicles undertaking company business. Where such systems are available they must not be intentionally disengaged.


  1. Anti-Lock Braking (ABS)
    ABS must be standard on all company supplied or financed vehicles and all vehicles undertaking company business.


  1. Traction Control
    Where available, Traction Control will be considered as standard equipment and included in all vehicle acquisitions. Where such systems are available they shall not be intentionally disengaged.


  1. Airbags
    Vehicles that do not have driver and passenger airbags should not be used on company business. They won’t prevent the risk of a car accident but WILL provide significant protection in the event of an incident. Side (curtain or head and trunk) airbags should be specified on all new vehicle acquisitions. Where not available on the first choice of vehicle, a case must be made and submitted to management for authorisation to deviate from this policy.


  1. Lane Departure Warning
    Where Lane departure warning is available it should be considered as standard fixture.


  1. Brake Assist
    Where brake assist systems are available it should be considered as mandatory equipment.


  1. Reversing Sensors
    Where available reversing sensors and/or camera will be considered as standard equipment and included in all vehicle acquisitions.


See for more articles and information on car accident mitigation measures, and general fleet management resources.

3 Responses

  1. Terri
    | Reply

    To claim 50% of workplace accidents result from vehicle accidents is incredible! And quite frankly hard to believe. Does WorkSafe even collect data on work related car accidents?

  2. Crash Management
    | Reply

    Hi Terri, thanks for your comments. We’re advised that the research statistics are accurate which, as you say, is both surprising and rather horrifying. As far as we can ascertain neither WorkSafe NZ or the insurance industry collect any data relating to the split between personal use driving car accidents and business use car accidents. This does seem extraordinary particularly from a WorkSafe NZ perspective, it’s almost as if the issue has been completely overlooked. Or perhaps it’s ‘just too hard’ given that insurers don’t track the data.

    Increasingly Fleet Managers and Leasing firms are aware of the issue though and are collecting/collating data relating to the range of variables that result in a car crash. Crash Management has the capability and reporting functionality to deliver this analysis and many of our clients subscribe to the service. Understanding the reasons (incl recidivist drivers) that result in crashes and using targeted remedial action has been proven to significantly reduce vehicle accidents. It’s both cost effective and the right thing to do. If you’d like to know more about vehicle accident prevention measures please contact us anytime.

  3. Jack
    | Reply

    Shocking statistics and quite an eye opener. I thought this article was also relevant and interesting so other readers might enjoy too as below

    Work-Related Car Accidents
    Car accidents are among the leading causes of job-related injuries. If you were injured in a work-related car accident, you may be entitled to multiple forms of financial compensation.
    Work-related car accidents happen every day to people in all walks of life. Whether you commute to work, drive from one jobsite to the next, or drive for a living, you are equally at risk of being injured whether you are on or off the clock. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more accidents happen between 3:00pm and 6:00pm than any other period of the day.

    Work-Related Car Accidents and Employees’ Rights
    Were you injured in a work-related car accident? If so, you could potentially be entitled to multiple forms of financial compensation. If you were working (as opposed to commuting) at the time of the accident, you may have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Regardless, you likely have coverage under your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy; and, if another driver was at fault in the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim against his or her bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance policy.
    You could potentially even have a claim against an auto manufacturer and local highway authority as well, and pursuing all available sources of compensation may be critical to maximizing your financial recovery. Read on to learn more about the types of compensation available for work-related car accidents, then click one of the links below to find a local work injury attorney.

    Workers’ Compensation for Car Accidents
    A car crash is no different from any other type of accident when it comes to collecting workers’ compensation benefits. If you were injured on the job and you are eligible for workers’ compensation (and most employees are), you can file a claim with your employer. Commuting accidents are one major exception (when you are commuting, you are generally not considered to be “at work”); however, there are even limited circumstances under which injuries from commuting accidents will be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
    As a result, whether you were at work, on your way to work, or on your way home when your accident happened, you should speak with an attorney about filing for workers’ compensation. You have nothing to lose (your initial consultation should be free); and, if you have a claim, you may be able to receive benefits in as little as a few weeks while your personal injury case remains pending.

    Personal Injury Claims for Work-Related Car Accidents
    Work-related car accidents are also no different from other types of car accidents with regard to personal injury compensation. If another driver was at fault in the accident, you can file an insurance claim to seek full compensation for your injury-related losses. If your injuries are relatively minor, your PIP coverage may be enough; and, if the driver who hit you is uninsured, you may have to file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy (if you have one). However, in most cases, the costs of traumatic injuries from a car accident will far exceed the available PIP coverage, and your best option will be to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s BIL policy.
    Common examples of driver negligence that can support personal injury claims include:
    • Aggressive driving – Including speeding, weaving through traffic, tailgating, and running red lights and stop signs.
    • Distracted driving – Including talking, texting, using social media, setting GPS directions, eating and drinking, rubbernecking, and other forms of distraction.
    • Drowsy driving – Drowsy driving accidents are common during high-traffic times when most people are on their way to or from work.
    • Impaired driving – Including drunk driving and driving under the influence of narcotics, opioids, and prescription drugs.
    • Inattentive driving – Including merging without looking and turning into oncoming traffic.
    • Reckless driving – Including driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions, changing lanes without signaling, braking harshly, and cutting off other vehicles in traffic.
    In some cases, individuals injured in work-related car accidents will have claims against auto manufacturers and highway authorities for vehicle and road defects as well. In order to preserve your right to maximum compensation, you should discuss the details of your case with an experienced work injury attorney as soon as possible.

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