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Work-related Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths, Oklahoma, 2007

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A  total of 5,657 work-related deaths occurred in the United States in 2007. Of these, one fourth (1,141) were highway incidents. In Oklahoma, there were 36 work-related motor vehicle crash fatalities on public roads in 2007 (5% of all traffic crash deaths; 34% of all work-related deaths).  Of the 36 fatally injured workers, 75% were drivers, 14% were passengers, and 11% were pedestrians. Fatally injured workers ranged from 18-66 years of age, with a median age of 42 years. Almost all workers were male. Eighty-one percent of fatal crashes involved large trucks, and 69% of fatal injuries were to truck and delivery drivers. Three-fourths of workers were not wearing a seat belt at the time of injury. Almost one-third of workers were not residents of Oklahoma.

  • A 45-year-old male was driving an oilfield truck at an excessive speed on a foggy roadway. He failed to see the intersection of a highway, crossed it, hit an embankment, and overturned.
  • A 26-year-old male was driving a water truck for a road construction site, exceeding the legal speed limit on a dark roadway. He ran off the right side of the road, overcorrected, and lost control. The truck flipped two and a half times, ejected the driver, and rolled over him. A 34-year-old male passenger was also killed in the crash. Neither worker was wearing a seat belt.
  • A 66-year-old male propane company owner had been up all night working on generators for oil fields. He was driving a pickup on an unlit roadway and hauling a flatbed trailer with a large compressor. His vehicle left the roadway on the left side, drove through a grassy area, and hit a tree. He was not wearing a seat belt.
  • A 32-year-old male was driving a semi-truck hauling timber when he became distracted and failed to stop at a train crossing. The truck left 25 feet of skid marks and hit the lead engine of a train, knocking it off the tracks and derailing two other engines and a railcar. The timbers shifted on impact and pinned the driver in the cab of the truck.

Safety Recommendations

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Driving requires your full attention: avoid cell phone use, eating, reading maps, and other distracting activities while driving a vehicle.
  • Obey posted road signs including speed limits.
  • Drive an appropriate speed for road conditions – this may be less than the posted speed limit.
  • Schedule enough time to drive safely and check radio, TV and websites for traffic information before you travel.
  • Do not use alcohol or illicit drugs before driving. Avoid medications that may cause drowsiness.
  • If tired while driving, stop the vehicle. Taking a short nap or caffeine may temporarily help.
  • If driving long distances, stop regularly to walk and stretch briefly.
  • Create safe driving programs/guidelines in the workplace, including mandatory seat belt use and prohibiting distracted driving such as talking/texting on a cell phone.
  • Secure tools and equipment securely before traveling to prevent movement of materials.

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised September 2011

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