ASSE: Employers Pay Heavy Toll for Traffic Crashes

Roadway crashes continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job\r\ndeaths in the United States and account for nearly a quarter of last\r\nyear's fatalities.

Roadway crashes continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the United States and account for nearly a quarter of last year''s fatalities.

With the increase in round-the-clock traffic congestion, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is urging employers to develop and adopt on-the-job traffic safety programs and guidelines in an effort to combat the negative effects of traffic crashes.

In support of the annual Drive Safely Work Week taking place this week, ASSE has developed a free brochure, "Important Safety Tips," that provides information on how to safely drive in work zones; tips on sharing the road safely with commercial vehicles; and, important vehicle passenger safety information.

About 115 people die each day from traffic crashes in the United States. Nearly 42,000 people die every year from traffic crashes, sending four million more to emergency rooms and hospitalizing 400,000, half with permanent disabilities.

On-the-job traffic crashes cause 3000 deaths, 332,000 injuries and cost employers over $43 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and can reduce employee productivity by 40 percent.

In addition to the emotional toll, on-the-job traffic crashes annually cost employers about $3.5 billion in property damage, $7.9 million in medical care and emergency service taxes, $17.5 billion for wage premiums, $4.9 billion for workplace disruption (to hire and train either new employees or temporary employees) and $8.5 billion in disability and life insurance costs.

ASSE also urges all drivers to pay attention to the road while driving and follow the guidelines included in the ASSE brochure which include heeding all directions on work zone warning signs; to be aware of a large truck''s blind spots; and to buckle up. Nearly two-thirds of those killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained.

For a copy of the free brochure, go to ASSE''s Web site at www.asse.org.

by Virginia Foran

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