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Car Accidents in Long Work Commutes Less Likely, Study Reveals

We learn early that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But a recent study of commuter traffic suggests that a longer route between home and work is safer and less likely to end in a car accident.

The study by a University researchers was a project to produce an algorithm to help urban planners route city traffic. The report is as complex as you’d expect the explanation of an algorithm to be. What they found was that urban commuters may be less likely to encounter automobile accidents if they are willing to increase trip time, a news release says.

The findings are based on traffic speed, accident count, and trip origin and destination data collected from taxi services and police reports. “The data shows that the shortest routes between two points, distance-wise, often have the most automobile accidents,” said lead study author Richard Sowers, a professor of mathematics and industrial and enterprise systems engineering.

The study showed that a Manhattan commuter willing to increase travel time by about 15% during the evening or morning rush hour might reduce the number of accidents they encounter on their route by up to 18%, according to the release

Chance of A Car Accident On Your Way To Work

For commuters driving to and from work in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and the greater Triangle, the algorithm created by the researchers does not predict the likelihood of accidents.

But it goes to figure that the shortest commute routes are the most crowded and most likely to be the location of car accidents during rush hour.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Traffic Crash Facts 2017 shows a significantly higher number of crashes in the 7-8 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. hours on weekdays compared to other times of the day. Taking a route across the Triangle that avoids Interstate 40 may be a safer bet.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., we help people who have been in car accidents obtain insurance compensation when the injury was caused by someone else’s carelessness or disregard for safety. We also assist injured workers with workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes the two types of cases intersect if a worker driving as part of their job duty is injured in a car accident by another motorist.

Unfortunately, while we can seek and obtain other compensation for an unjustly injured driver or passenger, accidents that happen during workers’ commutes are not generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ Compensation and the ‘Coming and Going Rule’

In general, workers’ compensation pays medical bills and a portion of lost wages for an employee who is injured in the course of performing his or her job.

Most work-related injuries happen at a job site, but accidents are also covered by workers’ comp if they happen away from the workplace – if the employee is on the clock and engaged in work-related activity. This includes accidents at work-sponsored trade shows or social events, such as holiday parties, for example.

Individuals who drive as part of their job are covered by workers’ comp for auto accidents that occur while they are working. This includes accidents that delivery drivers may get into, or an accident that occurs on a business trip or while traveling between two company office locations during the workday.

However, a tried and tested rule, known as the “coming and going rule,” holds that the daily commute is not part of the job and is not covered by workers’ compensation. There are exceptions, which have also been upheld when challenged:

  • Company transportation. If your employer has agreed as part of your employment to provide you transportation to and from work, an accident would be covered by workers’ comp. This includes travel in a company vehicle, such as one you take home and are to use only for work, or in a van that picks up multiple employees. It also applies if you are regularly reimbursed for commute mileage traveled in your own vehicle.
  • “Special mission” or dual-purpose travel. If your employer asks you to travel and you get into an accident, your injuries should be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, no one can find an extension cord needed to make a sales presentation, and the boss asks you to buy one on the way to work the next morning. An accident on this commute would be covered. When travel is at least partly to benefit the employer, an accident may be covered by workers’ comp. If you had already stated plans to stop by the store on your way in the next morning and your boss asked you to pick up an extension cord while there, any accident on the trip would be covered.

Contact a Raleigh Personal Injury / N.C. Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Our experience as Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., as personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers allows us to help you after a car accident. We will seek to identify all types of insurance coverage that may provide compensation for your injuries. An employer will suggest you look to your own insurance after a work-related car accident. But if you are due workers’ compensation benefits, we can help you obtain them.

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance protection that most employers in North Carolina are required to carry to cover worker injuries. You may be unfamiliar with it until an injury occurs and you find yourself with questions about your rights and the insurer’s delay or denial of your claim.

Let Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks level the playing field for you. We can review your car accident and injuries and discuss your legal rights to pursue compensation, including workers’ comp benefits, in a free initial consultation. Our goal is to help you obtain the money you need to be made whole after a serious injury. Call us now or contact us online.

About the Author

Robert C. Younce, JR
Chip is an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks and concentrates his law practice in personal injury and workers’ compensation law. He has tried over 100 workers’ comp cases to Opinion and Award and about a dozen personal injury jury trials to verdict. He has been board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in workers’ compensation law since 2001.

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