The costs of workers’ compensation (WC) insurance and claims continue to rise for commercial fleets. According to the NCCI Research Brief, “Motor Vehicle Accidents in Workers Compensation,” from 2011 to 2016, the frequency of WC claims from motor vehicle accidents increased, while the rate of all WC claims decreased. The rise of motor vehicle accidents may be attributed to the adoption of the smartphone in 2010 that has led to distracted driving. Ironically, to reverse this trend, mobile technology can be used to reduce the increasing costs of WC claims.
Why Are Motor Vehicle WC Claims So Expensive?
The two significant factors driving up the costs of WC claims are frequency and the severity of injuries.
The number of workplace accidents resulting in WC claims have been declining. This is in part, thanks to automation, robotics and continued efforts in improving workplace safety. On the flip side, the number motor vehicle accidents resulting in WC claims had been declining, but most recently it has taken a sudden surge upward.
The NCCI Research Brief lists some significant data points that help explain why these claims are so expensive:
- Motor vehicle accidents involve severe injuries to the head, neck, and spine. As a result, these WC claims can cost 80% to 100% more than an average WC claim.
- Over the last five years, more than 40% of fatal WC claims involved a motor vehicle accident
- A motor vehicle accident claim is 12 times more likely to result in a fatality than a non-motor vehicle accident claim.
To reverse this trend of increasing workers’ compensation claims involving motor vehicle accidents, the frequency and severity of motor vehicle accidents need to be lowered. This can be accomplished by introducing mobile AI technology that can monitor the driver and road conditions before, during, and after an accident occurs.
Before an Accident Happens
Intervene proactively: Distracted driving continues to be the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Technology to reduce this risk continues to improve. It makes better sense to have the ability to avoid a crash in the first place, rather than analyze the crash after it happened. AI technology can monitor driver and road conditions resulting in crash avoidance.
When an Accident Happens
When an accident does occur, video recordings can capture the driver’s behavior at the time of the crash and the road conditions in front of him. Having this is important to help determine what actually happened as opposed to what the driver may or may not remember.
In addition to a video recording, AI technology can collect data about the driver at the time of the accident. Was he dosing off? Did he start driving erratically or have trouble braking?
After an Accident Happens
Discovery: If the driver was not at fault, video coverage and the accompanying data could help to exonerate the driver. It will show the driver’s behavior, vehicle dynamics data, weather conditions, and the driver’s driving style.
Video coverage can also help to weed out all risky drivers, identify any pre-existing conditions, and detect if the vehicle has parked on the wrong side of the road.
The Most Dangerous Place for Workers Could Be Their Vehicle
According to an article “Pinnacol Warns Most Dangerous Place for Workers Could Be Their Vehicle” published on WorkCompWire:
“The most common types of workers at risk for motor vehicle accidents were health care workers, truckers and noncommercial drivers (like chauffeurs and messengers), followed by auto servicers and police officers. Clerical employees are also at great risk. “Whether it’s health workers driving to clinic sites or patient homes or office workers simply driving across town to a meeting or for a work errand, it’s clear employees in nonprofessional driving roles are driving more often,” continued McMillen. “We are also distracted by technology more than ever, and this confluence of factors is important for employers to manage.”
For the professional driver, their vehicle is their workplace. When technology has been introduced in other workplace environments such as factories, the frequency and severity of WC claims has diminished. To achieve similar results, the introduction of AI technology in all commercial vehicles is the first step to create a safer workplace for the professional driver.
Workers’ compensation claims resulting from motor vehicle accidents will continue to be a challenge for both commercial fleet companies and insurance carriers. Whether a worker is driving an 18-wheeler or a passenger vehicle, distracted driving needs to be addressed to reduce the frequency and costs of workers’ compensation claims.
According to the article “Insurance for truckers,” published by Coverager, 640 trucking companies went bankrupt in 2019, with one of the primary reasons being the high cost of insurance rates, including workers’ compensation claims.
We believe technology can help with workers’ compensation claims, but what is even more powerful is proactively reducing employee injury. We want to make sure that driving employees are equipped to prevent accidents whenever possible.
AI-based loss prevention technology is the next step in preventing crashes that are helping companies decrease their workers’compensation claims and exposures.
Interested in learning more about dreyev and our advanced driver attention management system? Click below to learn more about “Walter,” our virtual co-driver that provides coaching in real-time to improve your safety record and lower costs.