MVA Workers Compensation Accident Increase Possibly Linked To Smartphones
The Workers Compensation accident increase reports are a thing of the past.
All of us know that on-the-job accidents have decreased significantly over the last few years. The one constant in these reports is the lack of a root cause.
Why has the workers compensation accident rate fallen by 17.6%? No one to date has fully explained the phenomenon. Technology was one of the recommended root-cause decreases. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance has been reduced by 50% (amazing).
Now we have the same type of comparison for the increase in Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA’s). NCCI recently released a study of the MVA-related Class Codes. The intensive travel-related class codes (trucking, taxi, etc.) were of course, the ones that accounted for much of the MVA’s.
One shocking statistic in the report was that 40% of all Workers Compensation accident fatalities were due to MVA’s. That percentage is a serious and startling statistic. The full report by NCCI – recommended that you download the whole study from here.
Mark Walls – Safety National Insurance- recently remarked that MVA’s account for their most serious workers compensation accident claims. The same can be said for the NCCI study.
The year 2011 pegs the start of the increase in MVA’s. This starts the parallel use of smartphones. However, no report has ever directly concluded that smartphone use was or remains the root cause of the increase in MVA’s or the workers compensation accident rate.
I decided to dig a little deeper. This Bloomberg Article – Read past the Op-Ed headline shows that only 1.4% of MVA’s since 2011 resulted from smartphone use.
If you read further into the Bloomberg article, the reason for such a low number comes from the fact that not all cell phone use accidents are reported to the NHTSA properly i.e., the Tennessee conundrum in the same article.
We all either have been or have seen the hypnotized driver in the left lane swerving like a DUI candidate in the left lane of a four lane highway. Last week, I drove 15 hours in two days to make (ironically) an NCCI State Advisory Meeting and to make other meetings.
I decided to count the number of smartphone-hypnotized people in the 22 hours stretch of driving. I identified 16 left lane drivers that were on their phone by texting or talking in 22 hours. This route was on rather remote interstate highways.
I did not count the right lane smartphone users as at least they were out of the way and driving slower to offset their unsafe driving habit.
I only counted during daylight hours to not count DUI or drivers that do not do well at night. That reduced the counted hours on the interstates to 17. So 16/17 or 1 driver blocked the left lane due to smartphone use every 55 minutes.
Georgia recently enacted a law joining 16 other states on limiting cellphone or smartphone use. However, the use of bluetooth devices is still OK. Accident statistics show that bluetooth does not reduce accidents as the main culprit is inattentive driving.
The bottom is smartphone use and cause of traffic accidents has not been established – it is not because the fact that such a statistic exists – it is that the stat is not and has not been measured well. Why? – Who wants to tell the officer that they were on their phone either by texting or talking?
Someday, we may be able to identify smartphone use as the root cause of a workers compensation accident.
©J&L Risk Management Inc Copyright Notice