NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :41
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of occupational injury deaths in the U.S. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported 10,568 workers killed in highway incidents for the 8-year period from 1992 to 2000. Forty percent (N=4,241) occurred in a single occupation-truck drivers. Highway incidents account for 70% of all fatalities of truck drivers-a percentage that increased fairly steadily over the 8-year period, from 57% in 1992 to 70% in 1999. Involvement of truck drivers in fatal highway collisions is an important and enormously costly public safety issue. Establishing the number and rate of occupational truck driver fatalities provides valuable information to assist in determining the focus for prevention and research efforts. These measures also provide the basis for determining the cost of occupational injuries providing another decision making tool for policymakers. Costs of workplace fatalities were estimated using the cost-ofiIlness approach, which combines direct and indirect costs to yield an overall lifetime cost for a fatal occupational injury. The total lifetime cost of workplace fatalities for truck drivers involved in highway incidents during 1992-1999 was nearly $3.5 billion dollars, ranging from $302 million in 1992 to $498 million in 1999. Over this period, the mean cost of a single work related truck driver fatality in a highway incident was estimated at $780,439 compared to the median cost of $884,759. The mean cost of occupational fatalities for truck drivers due to other causes ranged from $839,937 for exposure to harmful substances or environments to $594,234 for falls. Economic risk, defined as frequency times cost, can be used to target interventions. Of all event categories, jack-knifed or overturned/no collision fatal incidents were most frequent and had the largest total cost of $883,027,268. Using this measure, these incidents should be a priority for prevention research.