Highway transportation incidents are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in the United States, with the highest fatality rates occurring among workers age 65 or older, according to a new Centers for Disease Control report.

After analyzing data from 2003 through 2010 and comparing occupational highway transportation deaths among workers aged 18-54, 55–64 and 65 and older, CDC says it found those 65 and older had the highest overall fatality rate and more than three times that of workers aged 18–54 years.

CDC says the results “demonstrate the need to further implement interventions that consider road safety risks specific to older workers.”

During 2003–2010, a total of 11,587 workers aged greater than 18 in the United States died in occupational highway transportation incidents, of whom 3,113, or 26.9%, were 55 or older. Overall, fatality rates were highest among workers 65 and older, with 3.1 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by those aged 55–64 years, with 1.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.

By primary industry, workers in transportation and warehousing accounted for a third of all deaths and had the highest rates across all age groups.

Events leading to highway transportation deaths were similar across all age groups, with collisions between vehicles accounting for the largest proportion of deaths in each age group.

Among workers older than 65, the type of vehicle most often involved was an automobile, at 23%, semi-tractor trailer truck, at 22%, or pickup truck, at 15%, and a greater proportion of deaths involving off-road and industrial vehicles at 9%, compared with 2% for the other age groups.

Higher proportions of deaths involving semi-tractor trailer trucks were observed for workers aged 18–54 years and 55–64 years, at 31% and 37%, respectively.