Boca Raton, FL – NCCI recently released a new Insights update to its 2018 research brief titled “Motor Vehicle Accidents in Workers Compensation,” which examined the frequency and severity of motor vehicle accidents (MVA) from 2000 to 2016. The brief noted that frequency decreased for both MVAs and all claims from 2000 to 2011. However, a key finding was that from 2011 to 2016, while the frequency of all workers compensation (WC) claims continued to decrease, the frequency of MVAs increased in both WC and in the general population. We cited the rapid expansion of smartphone ownership during this period as a possible contributing factor.
The new brief provides an update of MVA experience in WC through Accident Year 2018 and discusses factors influencing MVAs, such as cell phone laws and ownership, and vehicle safety. The article also sheds light on how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact 2020.
Key findings included:
- MVA frequency increased. From 2011 to 2018, the frequency of MVA lost-time claims increased, while the frequency of all lost-time claims decreased.
- As of year-end 2018, the percentage of US adults who own a smartphone is estimated to be over 80%. Smartphone ownership skyrocketed after the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, but growth has tapered off in recent years.
- Safety evolves. State-of-the-art vehicle safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, will take time to penetrate the driving pool, as the average car age is just under 12 years.
- MVA lost-time claims continue to cost over 80% more than the average lost-time claim, because MVA claims tend to involve severe injuries (e.g., head, neck, and spine).
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
The brief notes that the actual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet known, although several consequences of the pandemic may be expected to impact MVA claim frequency in 2020.
The pandemic has led to reduced work-related driving exposure and reduced business travel. More employees are telecommuting, with “up to half of American workers currently working from home, more than double the fraction who worked from home (at least occasionally) in 2017–18.”18 In addition, industries such as busing and taxicabs (that have a relatively high volume of MVAs) have experienced a significant decline in demand due to the crisis.
NCCI will continue to monitor the situation and report our findings once additional data becomes available.
Read the free brief: NCCI Insights: Motor Vehicle Accidents in Workers Compensation