Midcourse Review Sets Stage for NIOSH Motor Vehicle Research

Examining how prescription and OTC drugs contribute to work-related crashes and also developing a system to categorize medications’ risk levels were recommended in comments from stakeholders and the public as the agency’s Center for Motor Vehicle Safety plans its next actions.

NIOSH has posted the midcourse review for its Center for Motor Vehicle Safety's 2014-2018 strategic plan for research and prevention, providing a glimpse of how its research will be focused for the second half of that period. It's clear from the review that its stakeholders and the public are concerned about prescription and over-the-counter drugs, with NIOSH reporting they recommended examining how prescription and OTC drugs contribute to work-related crashes and also developing a system to categorize medications' risk levels similar to one produced by the European Union.

Stakeholders also recommended that the center evaluate the safety implications of new vehicle technologies, such as connected-vehicle technologies and crash avoidance technologies, and how the aging workforce and the increase in non-traditional employment (such as ride-sharing services) affect motor vehicle safety.

Another recommendation involves commuting: that the center identify commuting-related crashes specifically and investigate the contribution of long commutes to motor vehicle safety on the job.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths at work in the United States, the summary points out, citing BLS data that they caused 23,865 deaths from 2003-2015. Their cost to U.S. employers was $25 billion in 2013 alone, it says, citing the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety as the source for this number.

The review determined that, across five strategic goals, the current strategic plan has met or exceeded 14 performance measures, has partially met 16 other performance measures, and has not met 16 performance measures as of September 2016. The center is preparing for a full review of the current plan at the end of 2018 and for the 10-year plan that will follow.

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