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Vehicle crashes are the top cause of work fatalities

Some professions are known for workers putting their lives on the line every time they work. Generally speaking, construction, agriculture, landscaping, fishing, and manufacturing jobs are regarded as the most dangerous, yet most on-the-job deaths occur while on the road. It can involve the millions of workers who operate a delivery truck, long-haul semis, taxis, or company cars. Motor vehicle crashes rank first or second in the cause of death in every major industry.

The breakdown

In 2019, the most recent year of complete data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 1,270 workers died while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. This is 24% of all work-related deaths. The industry breakdown is:

  • Transportation and warehousing: 41%
  • Construction: 12%
  • Wholesale and retail: 9%
  • Administrative support, waste management and remediation services: 7% (three-way tie)

There were another 577 deaths, for an additional 11% of work-related deaths involved driving or riding motorized vehicles not on a public road, or they were pedestrian workers struck by vehicles. There were 341 pedestrian deaths on the job, and most typically involved semi-truck drivers, construction workers or law enforcement.

Injuries also occur

Not every motor vehicle collision involves death. There are also high percentages of workers suffering brain trauma, broken bones, back injuries, internal injuries, or burns. These can leave workers with life-changing injuries that prevent them from returning to their job, or they are stuck with a long recovery.

What can victims do?

Those injured in a motor vehicle collision should immediately seek medical treatment. This often is the best way to detail the scope of the injuries, which will be essential for a potential lawsuit or filing for worker’s compensation benefits. Depending on the details of the crash, the families of a deceased worker may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit.