According to December 2018 study by one of Colorado’s largest workers compensation insurers, motor vehicle accidents account for 39% of all workplace fatalities in the state. In addition, many others are injured each year while driving or operating machinery at or for their place of employment. Why such a high occurrence of motor vehicle deaths and injuries among Denver-based employees? Because workers in a wide variety of professionals are increasingly on the road due to their work-related activities. Secondly, previous studies have indicated that when individuals are behind the wheel of a vehicle that they do not own, they tend to drive more recklessly and with more abandon, since it’s not their personal vehicle. Anyone conscientious employee who drivers for a living will tell you that that approach is nonsensical. In fact, if you drive for a living, you should drive more carefully, not less.
The collective impact of motor vehicle accidents occurring to Colorado workers is staggering. In fact, over the past five years have cost Colorado workers compensation insurers $173 million. If you’ve been injured while driving on-the-job, the experienced and professional team of Denver-based workers compensation lawyers here at Mark A. Simon can work with you to get you what you rightfully deserve. We have decades of experience litigating workers compensation cases that involve vehicles and equipment. And while we’re happy to be an advocate for drivers across Colorado in the event they are injured in a motor vehicle accident on the job, the key thing is to prevent such accidents from occurring in the first place.
What sort of Denver-based drivers are most likely to be injured in an at-work motor vehicle accident? The most common professions include health care workers, truckers and noncommercial driver's such as chauffeurs and messengers, auto servicers and police officers.
If you are employed in one of these professions, we encourage you to remain diligent on the road. Did you know your employer has important obligations to protect each of their employee’s health and safety, including when employees are operating a motor vehicle in the course of their work? That said, driver safety has to be a partnership between your employer and you.
Your employer can develop any number of good policies and procedures, but it is usually up to you and your common sense to avoid accidents during a days work. Road, weather and traffic conditions change frequently —especially in Colorado. So while this can make it tough for employers and policy makers to to write a policy or procedure to address every possible event you might encounter each day on the road.
That said, if you are not personally responsible for your employee-owned vehicle than it is usually up to your employer to make sure that it is inspected and in safe working order each time you get behind the wheel. That goes for forklifts to farm equipment and trucks. There are a few key things every driver or equipment operator needs to consider before taking to the road for work.
Before hitting the road for work, make sure your rested and in good shape to drive. Driving when you are overworked or extending your shift for overtime can jeopardize you and everyone else on the road. A wide variety of work-related driving accidents can occur when employed drivers are pushing their boundaries.
Prepare a Plan
In incidences of poor weather conditions, it’s important to make sure not only that your vehicle is properly prepared to handle the roads. This is also a situation where route planning becomes imperative. Check the route you intend to travel, and an alternate route. Me mindful of traffic and road conditions and stay alert to updates. Communicate your plan to a co-worker or supervisor and set up a check-in contact.
Stay Alert and Take Breaks
Pay attention and avoid distractions. Don’t use a cell phone or adjust the GPS while driving. To avoid accidents while driving on the job, an important mantra to remember is that when you’re behind the wheel, driving is your only job. Whether you’re driving in the hot Colorado summer sun, or in one of our annual blizzards, take time to take a brief break every two hours. Stretch, drink water —anything you need to stay fresh and alert on the roads.
Injured in a Car Accident in Denver? Contact Mark A. Simon
If you’ve been injured in an accident with an emergency vehicle while following the rules of the road, the experienced and professional team here at Mark A. Simon are here to help. We have decades of experience with workplace compensation and personal injury suits across Denver, Littleton, Aurora and surrounds. Our team of attorneys works closely with each of our clients to get you what’s rightfully yours if you’re injured while operating a motor vehicle for your employer.