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WASHINGTON -- Employers must take steps to reduce job-related motor vehicle accidents, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says.

In a report released last week that reflects the insights of business and labor groups, NIOSH recommends that employers, among other measures, conduct driver's license background checks on prospective drivers; establish and enforce written policies requiring drivers and passengers to use seat belts; train drivers in safe driving practices and the use of vehicle safety features; establish schedules that allow drivers to obey speed limits and limit drivers' hours according to regulations; and purchase vehicles equipped with safety features such as antilock brakes and daytime running lights.

Employers developing traffic safety programs must analyze internal data and target the problems that will reduce accidents, NIOSH said in its report, the first that looks at workplace motor-vehicle accidents across all industries.

The report, "Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Traffic-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes," states that traffic-related motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities, claiming the lives of more than three workers daily. From 1990 to 1992, the average annual fatality rate associated with motor vehicle crashes was 0.7 per 100,000 workers. The actual number of fatalities is higher than indicated in the report, because death certificates do not capture more than 83% of work-related fatalities from motor vehicles, according to NIOSH.

The data from this period is consistent with more recent data collected by other government agencies, a NIOSH spokesman said.