Colorado Workers See an Uptick in Auto Accident Deaths
Aug 19, 2019 09:40 PM EDT
A report by Pinnacol Insurance notes that about 40% of all workplace deaths were due to vehicular accidents. Pinnacol's numbers come from its presence as the majority representative for workers' compensation insurance, representing as much as 60% of businesses. Within Colorado, the number of workplace injuries has dropped over the years, despite the continued lingering presence of increased deaths from vehicular accidents.
For workers within the state, having access to defensive driving programs may lead to a reduction in the number of deaths from automobile accidents. The National Safety Council mentions that defensive driving courses are likely to make employees safer on the roads, leading to a lower incidence of fatalities. The additional benefit is that workers that are trained in defensive driving take this skill with them when operating their private vehicles as well. Defensive driving is a skill that doesn't only apply to a work environment but also exists as a benefit to personal vehicle operation.
Employers would be glad to have more responsible workers behind the wheel, as accidents over 2018 have accrued as much as $173 million in costs to business owners. The financial benefit of training workers in safe vehicle operation is obvious, and having safer drivers means that businesses will keep the lower premiums that come with more responsible, safe driving.
Colorado's Abysmal Driving Reputation
The state of Colorado has a terrible record when it comes to vehicular accidents. The Denver Post notes that while the rate of crashes dropped slightly around the rest of the country in 2017, it actually went up in Colorado. Similarly, Biker Justice USA, the motorcycle accident-attorney, reports that in the five years from 2012-2018, motorcyclist deaths increased by nearly a third to 30%. The state's drivers aren't any different from other Americans, but there seems to be a disregard for vehicular safety, leading to an increase in deaths on the road.
Workers should be aware of what to do after an auto accident in Colorado. The safety of the worker should be of the utmost concern, but that usually requires employers to take a more avid interest in their workers' safety precautions. The Aspen Times mentions that 211 deaths occurred in 2017 from people not wearing seatbelts when they should have.
While it might be a simple matter of shifting blame unto employers, the employee needs to be just as aware of what he or she is getting into. Colorado is working towards becoming a safer state for drivers. The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that in 2018, seat belt use increased to 86%. Combining regular use of seatbelts with defensive driving techniques may be able to save a lot more workers from ending up in a fatal vehicular accident.
Many of the fatalities that resulted from employee drivers involved persons that were hired with the company for less than a year. The lack of experience in dealing with complex driving situations may have been a contributing factor. The fact suggests that employers should entrust driving to experienced personnel more often. Employers need to be responsible for the safety of their vehicles, but that usually means ensuring that workers are responsible for their own safety first.