Distracted Driving — More Dangerous than Ever


April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The next couple of issues of Weekly Industry News will feature stories on distracted driving.

It appears — says the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) — that COVID has led to more than medical deaths. It has increased distracted driving which has — in turn — led to more highway deaths.

In 2020, a stunning 38,824 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. They died because of speeding, alcohol and non-seat belt use — and by distracted driving.

That number hit 3,142.

Chris Hayes is the assistant VP of transportation and risk control at Travelers. He says distracted driving is growing worse. The 25 months of COVID has changed how people drive.

People were working from home and there was a real sense that roads were empty and people tend to drive faster and take more risks [when there is less traffic] … It changed the way that people drove,” Hayes said and when things relaxed people kept driving like roads are empty. If you look at vehicle safety trends, we had about 10 years of consistent improvement … Things were getting better, all of that has been erased in the last two years,” he said.

As proof he pointed to the Travelers Risk Index.

Before COVID 19% of respondents said they text or email while driving

That number is now 23%

Checking social media before COVID was 13%

It’s now 15%

Before COVID 10% said they take videos and pictures while driving

That number is now 12%

Nationwide’s Kelly Hernandez points out that young drivers are impacted the most. She says they’ve had phones in their hands all of their lives and when COVID hit, the amount of time they are on them went up — dramatically.

The insurer did a study on driver safety and phones and found 33% of young drivers believe it’s safe to hold a phone while driving. Holding the phone is defined as texting, calling or using it for navigation.

Just 20% of baby boomers think it is safe to use a phone while driving.

A different study from Edelman Data & Intelligence came to different — but just as scary — conclusions. The company interviewed 1,000 auto owners and found:

Most think “other” drivers are the cause of unsafe conditions

66% say holding a phone while driving is dangerous

However, 51% say they’ve done just that in the last month

The problem is growing more and more serious by the day.

Cambridge Mobile Telematics puts out a report every year on distracted driving. The 2022 U.S. Distracted Driving Report looked at driving behaviors from 2019 to 2022. That report says distracted driving is 30% higher in February 2022 than in February of 2020.

Source link: Digital Insurance — https://bit.ly/392ymzI

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