For some people, getting to and from work means spending a bit of time behind the wheel. Others spend their entire workdays on the road. Transportation workers fill a vital role in North Carolina’s society, but these men and women put their lives at risk every time they are on the clock. Transportation-related work injuries are shockingly high and may even lead to death.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — BLS — 40% of all work fatalities are driving related. There were approximately 2,080 transportation deaths in 2018 alone. Those who do survive often face an uphill battle to recovery, too.
Who faces the highest risk?
BLS data shows that truck drivers and driving sales workers have the highest number of fatalities among 966 broad occupation groups. When looking at detailed occupations, tractor trailer and heavy truck drivers have the highest fatality rate. What do these groups have in common? They spend the majority of their working hours on the road.
Employers should do everything possible to minimize potential risks for workers who have to drive. This includes creating and implementing policies that focus on safety training as well as risk assessment techniques. Unfortunately, these efforts alone are not enough to eliminate transportation injuries.
Other drivers are dangerous
Although professional drivers are certainly suffering the ill effects of these accidents, they are not necessarily the ones causing them. Studies have shown that noncommercial drivers are the ones who cause the majority of these collisions. Behaviors from passenger vehicle drivers that contribute to accidents include:
- Texting and driving
- Substance abuse
- Increasing speed limits
Although distracted driving has long been an issue, electronic devices such as smartphones have accelerated that problem. Drivers who are looking at their text messages are not paying attention to the road and can easily cause an accident. Unfortunately, this means that commercial drivers can do everything within their abilities to stay safe and still end up in an accident.
Recovery is a journey
Accident-related injuries can range from mild to severe, while some are even fatal. Injuries can be more than just physical, though. The mental toll of being involved in an accident can be traumatic and may even threaten one’s ability to work.
Any interruption in your paycheck can make recovery that much more complicated. North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system is designed to help you and other injured workers through this period of time. Benefits cover things like your lost wages and related medical bills, giving you the time you need to focus on your recovery.