Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Ridgeland · Jackson Throughout Mississippi

Distracted Driving and Workplace Transportation Accidents

Man in suit texting and driving while on the way to meet a client for work.

Driving is the top cause of work-related deaths in the United States, accounting for nearly 40 percent of on-the-job fatalities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Distracted driving, a significant contributor to roadway deaths, including work-related fatalities, claims thousands of lives annually and leaves countless others severely injured. While workers' compensation for work-related car accidents exists, it's important to understand the eligibility criteria and process for filing a workers' compensation claim after a work-related transportation accident.

Understanding the risks of distracted driving is also key to protecting workers while on the road and those around them. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the work injury attorneys at Tabor Law Firm, P.A. are committed to raising awareness about this issue. For instance, research reveals that using a cell phone while driving increases crash risk fourfold. By spreading the National Safety Council's message that "When you're behind the wheel, your only job is to drive," our goal is to foster safer driving habits and reduce the incidence of workplace-related motor vehicle accidents.

What are the four types of distraction behind the wheel?

The risk of fatal accidents in some Mississippi cities is very high. For example, Jackson is among the top five most dangerous cities in the U.S. for deadly motor vehicle accidents. As such, paying full attention to the road—particularly in areas with high crash rates—is necessary for safe travel.

Distracted driving occurs when drivers shift their attention from the road to focus on other things, such as using electronic devices, self-grooming, or eating. While visual and manual distractions are often recognized and quickly disengaged from, cognitive distractions, such as daydreaming, often go unnoticed. There are four primary forms of distraction, including:

  1. Cognitive. Cognitive distraction occurs when drivers' minds are not fully focused on the task of driving. This can involve thinking about unrelated matters, daydreaming, or being preoccupied with personal issues or concerns. Common examples include planning tasks, worrying about work or personal matters, or simply being lost in thought. Cognitive distractions can significantly impair a driver's ability to react to changes in traffic conditions and make quick decisions on the road.
  2. Manual. Manual distractions require drivers to physically manipulate objects or devices while operating a vehicle. This can include actions such as texting, adjusting the radio or climate controls, eating or drinking, reaching for objects within the vehicle, or even grooming activities like applying makeup or shaving. When drivers take their hands off the steering wheel to engage in these tasks, they increase their risk of losing control of the vehicle and being involved in an accident.
  3. Visual. Visual distractions occur when drivers divert their eyes away from the road to focus on something else. This can include looking at electronic devices, reading maps or navigation systems, checking the time, or observing external objects or events. Even momentary glances away from the road can significantly increase the likelihood of missing important visual cues such as traffic signals, pedestrians, or hazards on the roadway.
  4. Visual/Manual. Visual/manual distractions involve tasks that require drivers to both look away from the road and manipulate objects or devices with their hands. This combination of actions can significantly impair a driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle and respond to changing traffic conditions. Examples include texting or browsing on a smartphone, programming a GPS device, or adjusting in-car entertainment systems. These distractions not only take the driver's hands off the wheel but also divert their attention away from the road, posing a serious risk to safety.

Many states have passed all-driver cell phone and hand-held device bans. Mississippi has some of the weakest anti-distracted driving legislation in the U.S. Here, the law bans the use of hand-held mobile phones for new drivers and bus drivers with young passengers aboard. It also bans all drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle. However, individual workplaces may have their own cell phone policies.

Work-related transportation accidents: by the numbers

Last year in Mississippi, there were almost 700 workers injured due to a motor vehicle crash or malfunction. Additionally, 18 worker deaths involved motor vehicles, according to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. Here are some more important facts about on-the-job motor vehicle accidents:

  • In Mississippi, employees most likely to be injured in occupational auto accidents include those who work in transportation and material moving - especially for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers - construction, extraction, installation, maintenance, and repair.
  • Mississippi pays a high price for employees injured in motor vehicles. The state is among the top five with the highest per-employee crash costs.
  • Drivers talking on hands-free phones in simulated work zones took longer to reduce their speed when the vehicle in front of them was slowing down, leading to more sideswipe crashes.

Can you get workers' comp for a work-related transportation accident?

In general, if you were injured while driving for work-related purposes, such as making deliveries, traveling to client meetings, or running errands for your employer, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

To qualify for workers' compensation benefits after a work-related transportation accident, you typically need to demonstrate that your injury occurred within the scope of your employment duties. This means that you were performing tasks or activities directly related to your job at the time of the accident.

Workers' compensation benefits for work-related transportation accidents may cover medical expenses, lost wages due to time off work, rehabilitation costs, and other related expenses. However, the specific benefits available to you may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. That's why it's so important to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate the process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

If you've been injured in a work-related transportation accident in Mississippi, it's crucial to seek medical attention and report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. Then, you should contact an experienced workers' compensation lawyer to understand your rights and explore your options for pursuing benefits.

Compensation for work-related transportation accidents

If you were injured in a workplace motor vehicle accident in Mississippi, contact Tabor Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation. We can explain your options and answer any questions you have about your claim. We have offices in Jackson and Ridgeland, and we represent injured workers throughout Mississippi.

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