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Transportation Accidents Are Still a Leading Cause of Worker Fatalities

Delivery driver using tablet in van with parcels on seat.

Traffic fatalities have reached alarming levels that can no longer be ignored. Preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC) reveals a slight decline in motor vehicle deaths, dropping from 46,270 in 2022 to 44,450 in 2023.

Although there was a notable 6.2% decrease in the death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, transportation accidents continue to pose significant risks, especially for those whose livelihoods depend on driving for work.

Every year, driving remains the leading cause of work-related fatalities across the United States, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It accounts for nearly 40% of all occupational deaths on American roads.

In light of these concerning statistics, it's crucial for employers and employees alike to prioritize safety measures to reduce the risks associated with driving for work. Not only are traffic accidents a leading cause of work-related fatalities, but they also frequently result in injuries that can impact individuals' ability to work and earn a living.

What is causing this surge in traffic deaths?

Distracted driving remains a contributing factor in fatal transportation accidents that affect workers. Many drivers use cell phones and in-vehicle infotainment systems, and engage in other distractions. Additionally, the prevalence of impaired driving continues to play a role, whether from alcohol, drugs, or a combination.

The pandemic has exacerbated some of these dangerous trends. With fewer vehicles on the roads during 2020, some drivers took advantage of the open roads. They got into the habit of engaging in reckless behavior. While traffic volumes have since rebounded, risky driving habits appear to have become more ingrained. This risk has carried over into 2024.

How are fatal transportation accidents being addressed?

To address this growing crisis, the NSC has joined forces with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to convene a panel of experts. The panel will explore solutions to reduce traffic fatalities, with a focus on workplace fleet safety.

“Transportation incidents continue to be one of the leading causes of death among America’s workers. Understanding the risks of distracted driving is critical to protecting not only workers while on the road but those around them,” said Doug Parker, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.

According to Parker, OSHA will ensure that employers understand their obligation to enforce policies that promote safe driving practices. This includes developing work practices and procedures aimed at minimizing distracted driving incidents.

Potential strategies the panel may consider include enhanced driver training programs, the use of in-vehicle technology to monitor and curb speeding and distraction, and stronger policies around impaired driving. The panel may also explore ways to improve road infrastructure and vehicle design to make our transportation system inherently safer.

Does New York workers' comp cover injuries from transportation accidents?

For employees injured in work-related traffic accidents, workers' compensation benefits are often available to provide financial support for medical expenses and lost wages during recovery. However, it's essential to recognize that workers' compensation may not fully cover all losses, especially in cases involving severe injuries or fatalities.

In such instances, injured workers or their families may have the option to pursue third-party claims against negligent parties, such as other drivers or entities responsible for maintaining safe road conditions. These claims seek additional compensation beyond what is available through workers' compensation, helping to address the full extent of the harm suffered.

We've recovered over $1 billion in awards and settlements

If you were hurt in a transportation accident in New York, you need experienced legal representation to help you find your way forward and secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP, we have been fighting for the rights of injured New Yorkers for over 90 years. Our team of skilled attorneys is dedicated to advocating for you every step of the way and looking out for your best interests so you can focus on your recovery.

To get started, contact us online or call us at any of our offices in NYC or across New York state. We offer free consultations where you can ask questions and get valuable legal advice.

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