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July 17, 2020
NIOSH releases new motor vehicle safety plan

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released its 2020-2029 strategic plan for its Center for Motor Vehicle Safety (CMVS). The plan implements priorities from the institute-wide strategic plan for fiscal years 2019-2023 with input from other sources.

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The CMVS strategic plan prioritizes research activities into job-related motor vehicle safety in four industries: oil and gas extraction; public safety; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and wholesale and retail trade.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States, according to NIOSH. The institute has conducted research on work-related motor vehicle safety for more than 20 years, but established CMVS in 2010.

The work-related crashes that the center analyzes include single- or multiple-vehicle crashes that occur on the job either on or off public roadways and incidents in which a pedestrian worker like a law enforcement officer is struck by a motor vehicle in operation.

CMVS’s research strategies will include:

  • Strengthening its understanding of how risk factors contribute to work-related motor vehicle crashes and injuries, and communicating findings to employers, workers, and others;
  • Developing and evaluating the effectiveness of engineering and technology-based interventions to prevent work-related motor vehicle crashes and injuries, and advancing adoption of such interventions; and
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety management programs and practices and promoting their adoption.

The center’s research will look at some of the most basic safety interventions. For example, CMVS wants to identify barriers to seatbelt use in the oil and gas extraction industry and determine what factors influence workers’ decision-making surrounding seatbelt use. The center wants to identify differences across all industries in safety-related decision-making when driving on and off the job and explore workers’ rationales for different approaches to on- and off-duty driving.

CMVS also plans to conduct research into drivers’ comprehension and use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving systems (ADS) in commercial motor vehicles and fleet vehicles in a number of industries. The center also intends to develop and evaluate strategies to improve drivers’ understanding of ADAS and ADS in feet vehicles and commercial motor vehicles.

CMVS plans to conduct a number of activities related to fatigue risk management systems (FRMS), including:

  • Evaluating the use of FRMS and other strategies in small businesses and well-servicing companies, including fatigue-detection technologies to reduce fatigue and fatigue-related crashes and injuries among employees;
  • Evaluating the use of FRMS and other strategies for law enforcement officers;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of intra-shift fatigue management strategies such as napping and rest breaks on fatigue and crash-related injury risk for EMS workers; and
  • Developing and evaluating FRMS and other strategies to address fatigue and sleep disorders associated with crashes and crash-related injury risks among truck drivers employed by small carriers – those with 10 or fewer trucks.

CMVS does not expect to complete everything included in its 10-year strategic plan. The center will assess the impact of NIOSH safety research and communications on improving motor vehicle safety in the workplace, developing a series of “impact stories” for selected industries and worker groups.

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