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Motor vehicle crashes: An overlooked workplace accident scenario

When discussing workplace accidents and injuries, the scenarios that come to mind are often things like construction accidents, tripping hazards or even carpal tunnel syndrome. But one of the deadliest workplace hazards is also one most of us tend to overlook: motor vehicle accidents.

Statistics show that nearly 40 percent of all occupational deaths in one recent year were related to vehicle accidents. Crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities. Whether you are a commercial driver or just drive as part of your job duties, a motor vehicle accident could lead to serious injury or death. That's why it is important for your employer to take all precautions necessary to keep you and your co-workers safe behind the wheel.

There are several areas that employers should be addressing. The first two are hiring the right drivers and ensuring that they are properly trained in the vehicles they'll be using. Hopefully, you feel as though you were given the training necessary to drive safely.

But employers also need to focus on having/enforcing safety policies and maintaining safe vehicles. Your company's safety policy should address things such as:

· Avoiding distracted driving

· Prohibiting drug/alcohol use before driving

· Requiring the use of seat belts at all times

· Providing navigation technology that is reliable and does not distract the driver

· Setting strict protocols for hours of service to prevent drowsy/fatigued driving

As far as vehicles are concerned, your employer should:

· Plan for regular inspections, maintenance and repairs

· Choose vehicles with good safety ratings

· Include emergency supplies in vehicles in case of an accident or bad weather

· Provide checklists for all employees who drive, reminding them to monitor things like gasoline levels, air pressure in the tires, etc.

As a final note, please remember that if you are on the job, a motor vehicle accident is a workplace accident. As such, you should be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits for injuries or disabilities caused by the crash.

For more information about your rights as an injured worker, please contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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