Selecting safe vehicles for your employees
If you’re responsible for purchasing or leasing passenger vehicles for worker use, NIOSH says you need to consider two factors to help ensure safety:
- How well will the vehicle protect its occupants in the event of a crash?
- Which safety features are most effective in preventing a crash?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration assigns occupant protection safety ratings based on combined results from crash tests. NHTSA gives each vehicle one to five stars, evaluating how it performs in crash tests (one star is the lowest rating; five stars is the highest). Those ratings can be found at nhtsa.gov/ratings.
If you’re considering buying or leasing used vehicles, NHTSA provides up-to-date information on vehicle recalls at nhtsa.gov/recalls. Another such resource is CheckToProtect.org, from the National Safety Council.
If you’re going the new vehicle route, your next step should be looking at available automated safety features, also called advanced driver assistance systems. Levels of automation range from zero (no automation) to five (full automation).
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzes crash and injury claims for all years, makes and models of vehicles, comparing vehicles with and without each type of ADAS. In a fact sheet, IIHS summarizes the evidence supporting the benefits of ADAS.
It’s also important that workers using the vehicles understand how automated safety systems work. Forty percent of respondents to a University of Iowa survey said that, at some point, their vehicle had behaved in a way they didn’t understand. This result led to the creation of MyCarDoesWhat.org, in partnership with NSC. This simple, interactive site explains each type of ADAS safety feature, using strategies tailored to fit people of different ages and learning styles.
“The bottom line: Resources are available to help employers and consumers select the safest possible vehicles, and to help drivers understand how automated vehicle safety features work,” NIOSH says.