Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths. More than 27,000 employees died in work-related motor vehicle crashes from 2003-2017, according to federal statistics. Where are drivers most at risk?
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) ranked all 50 states and Washington, DC, on passage of 16 highway/driving laws that have been proven to save lives. No state has enacted all 16 laws.
States that have passed the highest number of these laws are ranked “green.” Those that have enacted the fewest are categorized as “red.” Those in between are “yellow:”
- Green (7 and DC): California, Delaware, DC, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington (state)
- Yellow (31): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
- Red (12): Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.
Employers can’t control state traffic laws.
But companies can encourage employees who travel as part of their jobs to drive as if all the laws were in effect.
Safe driving practices tied to the 16 laws include:
- Always fasten your seat belt, for both drivers and passengers
- Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs – whether they’re prescriptions or illegal substances
- Don’t use your cell phone to make calls when driving – hand-held or hands-free, and
- Avoid other distractions while driving, such as texting, accessing the internet, reading and updating social media.
The report notes that driver assistance technology, such as automatic emergency braking and blind spot detection, have been proven to help avoid crashes that can cause injuries or kill.
The group isn’t as positive about autonomous vehicles. Advocates hopes AVs will meaningfully reduce crash deaths and injuries eventually, but says the current development of this technology isn’t sufficient to protect road users.