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Older Transport Workers More Likely to Die in On the Job

Employees age 55 or older who drive as part of their jobs are more likely to be killed in accidents than younger colleagues because of declining cognition and greater susceptibility to injury, according to a U.S. report.

Employees who drive for work aged 55 to 64 were about 50 percent more likely to die in an accident, and those 65 and older were three times as likely to die, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a study today. Highway accidents are the leading cause of workplace deaths in the U.S.

The problem is likely to worsen as more Americans work deeper into their twilight years. People 55 years or older are projected to comprise 25 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2020, more than double the 12 percent share in 1990. The CDC said transportation companies can adapt by considering less nighttime driving, better-planned routes and refresher driver training.

“The safety of older workers who drive motor vehicles at work is of particular concern for employers, health professionals, and occupational safety professionals,” the CDC said. Companies with older employees “should consider allowing drivers to use their judgment to reschedule travel or stop driving in cases of fatigue, illness, bad weather, or darkness.”

Vehicle collisions accounted for the highest number of workplace transportation deaths, as opposed to single-vehicle accidents, the CDC said. Drivers, rather than passengers or pedestrians, were the most likely to be killed. The statistics don’t include people commuting to and from work.

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