Driving Under the Influence... (Of Your Phone)

You are 23 times more likely to get in an auto accident when texting on a phone. 

Not twice as likely.

Not even 10 times as likely:  23 times more likely.

Almost all drivers know it’s dangerous to use an electronic device while driving, but insurance and transportation studies show we don’t heed the danger. 

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports that nearly 80% of vehicle crashes involve driver inattention. Eating and drinking, talking to a passenger, and even adjusting the radio each qualify as a distraction, but using a cellphone eclipses all other distractions -- occurring in 52 percent of car trips that ended in a crash. 

According to the Independent Agents Insurance Magazine and Travelers.com., insurance companies are taking steps to change those statistics for the better, from analyzing distracted driving data with the goal of creating technology solutions to working to change the workplace culture that encourages drivers to check their phone at all times.

A few examples: 

Nationwide: By tracking distracted driving behavior through its usage-based mobile app program, Nationwide has gained insights on which distractions are the most dangerous.  Its data suggests drivers are engaging with their phone almost 20 percent of their driving time - yikes! Nationwide’s insights are intended to help with education, awareness and hopefully, prevention.

Chubb: The Chubb at the Wheel™ for teenagers of Chubb Masterpiece auto clients records a teen driver’s trip, time of day they drive, and any time they’re engaged in distracted behavior. The app also captures data about acceleration, braking, cornering and speeding, all with the goal of encouraging safer driving habits.

Travelers: The Travelers Institute® Every Second Matters initiative recognizes that “every driver, passenger, and pedestrian has a role to play in changing social norms around distraction.”  Launched in 2017, this national education campaign is working to reduce distracted driving, while encouraging drivers to make changes by speaking up and setting an example.

One of its tactics is to change workplace culture. “Regardless of any written company policy, managers set the tone about distracted driving at work. Employees may feel pressure to respond to work-related email or calls right away, even when they’re on the road. What messages are you sending to your team?” Travelers asks.


Take Traveler’s distracted driving quiz to learn more facts about driving while using electronic devices: https://www.travelers.com/quiz/auto/distracted-driving

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