Auto accidents a threat to workplace safety in North Carolina

As the U.S has become an increasingly mobile nation, many people find that driving is part of their jobs. As more people are driving to and from work and as part of their job duties, the risk of workplace auto accidents increases. People should be aware of the extent of the threat of workplace auto accidents, the economic impact such accidents have and some ways that employers can protect the safety of their employees and reduce motor vehicle accidents.

Workplace auto accidents widespread

According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. Commerce in the U.S. increasingly relies on highways to deliver goods and services across the country, and many people find that the road is their job site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle accident, every 10 seconds someone is injured in an auto accident and every 5 seconds a crash happens. Many of these fatalities and injuries occur during the work day.

The most common causes of auto accidents include:

  • Driver inattention
  • Speeding
  • Driver impairment
  • Ignoring traffic control devices such as stop signs and stop lights
  • Failure to yield right-of-way

Economic impact of workplace auto accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto accidents cost employers $60 billion annually in medical costs, legal expenses, property damage and lost productivity. Each auto accident costs an employer an average of $16,500. If the accident causes injuries, the cost increases to $74,000. When there is a fatality resulting from the accident, the cost can exceed $500,000.

These costs are in addition to the pain and suffering of employees injured in workplace auto accidents. Employees also lose some of their wages while unable to work due to injuries caused by auto accidents.

Reducing workplace auto accidents

Employers can take some steps to reduce workplace auto accidents and protect their employees' safety, such as:

  • Drafting a workplace-wide highway safety action plan
  • Including clear, comprehensive, enforceable workplace safety policies in the plan
  • Distributing the plan to employees and posting the plan in the workplace
  • Discussing safety policies at meetings
  • Adding incentives to follow the safety plan and penalties for failure to follow the plan
  • Creating an employee awareness campaign regarding traffic safety
  • Establishing evaluation methods for the program's success
  • Sharing the results of the evaluation with employees

Employers have a duty to provide safe workplaces for employees. People who are injured in on-the-job auto accidents may feel overwhelmed by the expenses associated with their injuries and may not know where to turn for help. If you have been injured in an auto accident at work, talk with an experienced attorney who can help you recover for your losses.