Pinnacol is a leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Colorado. In the past five years, according to information from Pinnacol, four in every 10 worker deaths in the state have been caused by automobile accidents. Auto accidents also accounted for $173 million in workers’ compensation claims in Colorado in the last five years.

While work-related injuries as a whole are down in Colorado, vehicle accidents on the job are still climbing. Pinnacol says employers can and should take steps to reduce traffic accidents among their employees.

“Defensive driving training should be part of any risk management program in which employees must drive for work, even if they’re not considered professional drivers or are driving their personal vehicles,” said Jim McMillen, director of safety services for Pinnacol Assurance.

A significant percentage of work-related vehicle accidents — 42 percent — involve people who have been employed with the company for a year or less. Many of these accidents involve distracted driving and employees who are not wearing seat belts.

Pinnacol stresses the importance of training employees who are going to have to drive for any reason, even just running simple errands during a workday. Focusing on distracted driving prevention and seat belt use could save lives, the company says.