From 2011 to 2015, 470 workers in the 16 to 24 year old age group died in motor vehicle accidents while on the job. This accounts for approximately 26 percent of all work-related deaths in this age group according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This statistic could be lowered significantly if employers implemented policies and programs that follow federal and state laws regarding youthful drivers at work. At the same time and parents should teach safe driving behavior while calling the young drivers attention to hazardous driving expectations.
While young drivers are still honing their skills and logging time behind the wheel, their lack of experience equates to the highest crash rate based on miles driven in the general population. The CDC issued a statement saying that employers and parents can play an important role in in the safety of young drivers, so that they can gain work experience under the safest conditions possible.
There are already restrictions in place regarding young drivers 16 to 24. Workers 16 years of age and younger, with non-agricultural jobs, are not allowed by law to drive for work. Workers age 17 and over may drive for non-agricultural jobs but must follow strict time and task guidelines. Any driver over the age of 18 may drive on the job but those under the age of 21 may not drive a commercial vehicle across state lines.
The CDC has suggested several steps that employers and parents can take to make young workers safer behind the wheel.
What can employers do to keep young drivers safe?
- Check if an applicant has the proper state drivers license for the type of driving and has a clean driving record. If the driver is under 18, check to see if he or she completed a valid drivers education program.
- Make sure that the driving assignment follows state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws. Provide driver training for the particular job, including familiarizing the young driver with all safety features of the vehicle.
- Require the use of seatbelts at all times for all occupants
- Prevent distracted driving by educating the drivers on state distracted driving laws. Ban texting and hand-held phone use while driving and consider banning hands-free phone use. Require workers to pull over into a safe place if they must use a phone, text or look for directions
- Prevent impaired driving. This should not only include alcohol and illegal drugs but any over-the-counter or prescriptions drugs that could impair performance. Make the young drivers aware of the danger of sleep deprivation, common among young drivers due to school, studies and extra curricular activities or even a busy social life.
- Conduct spot checks of driving records, on the road driving evaluations to check for risky behavior or areas needing improvement.
- Be sure all drivers of commercial vehicles or properly licensed for the type of vehicle.
What can parents do to encourage young driver safety?
- Set an example by demonstrating good driving. Always wear your seatbelt, maintain a safe and legal speed and do not follow too closely and refrain from using electronic devices while driving. Always use turn signals and check mirrors.
- Schedule hands on driving sessions to assess driving skills. Teach your young driver to recognize traffic hazards and risks and quickly identify developing problems. Teach them to get the big picture when on the highway and always leave themselves an out.
- Prevent distracted and impaired driving. Discuss the dangers of texting and phone use while driving. Teach them to pull over safely to text or talk. Remind youthful drivers that driving after drinking, or while really tired is dangerous. Let them know they can call you if they feel they should not drive. If they take medications that cause drowsiness, tell them to make alternative travel plans.
- Choose the safest vehicle. If you are buying a car for a young driver or he or she is buying one, be sure to check the safety ratings and get the safest affordable vehicle possible.
- Know the law regarding young workers getting behind the wheel and share it with the young driver. Young driver conditions are in place for the safety of the novice driver.
- Ask if the employer has policies, procedures and job training for the safe operation of motor vehicles. Tell the young driver to refuse any job that requires fast delivery as is common in the hot food delivery industry.
If your son or daughter is involved in an accident while on the job, teach them to call 911 first and wait for help to arrive. They should not make any statement to anyone other than the police. If they are offered medical attention tell them to always accept it. Some serious injuries have no immediate symptoms. Then it is important for you to contact an experienced auto accident attorney who has the investigative resources to determine the cause and fault of the accident.
Vititoe Law Group is a personal injury law firm specializing in providing help to victims of auto accidents. If your son or daughter was injured in a work related auto accident or a driver on the job injured you or a loved one, reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free evaluation of your case. Our investigative skills will determine who is legally responsible. Call today at 818-991-8900 or contact us online.