According to a recent survey by the Travelers Companies, nearly 80 percent of drivers say they talk on the phone while driving. Presumably, they are aware that phone use is a distraction behind the wheel. Over 30 percent of those surveyed admitted having a near-miss crash due to their own distraction.
Each year, Travelers produces the Travelers Risk Index based on these and other results of the survey. This year, they asked over 2,000 people — consumers and the executives of various companies — about distracted driving.
“It’s startling to see that drivers continue to engage in potentially life-threatening habits,” said a spokesperson for Travelers. “Whether driving for work or on personal time, many drivers overlook risks that make our roads more dangerous for all of us.”
Work pressure is sometimes a factor in driver distraction
One reason Travelers surveyed executives is because pressure from work is routinely cited as an excuse for talking on the phone, texting or emailing while driving. Travelers asked the executives what, if anything, their companies were doing to try to prevent distracted driving by their employees.
The good news is that about three-quarters of workplaces have implemented some kind of distracted driving policy. However, only 18 percent tell their employees to set their phones to Do Not Disturb while driving.
That could be a problem for businesses. If they pressure workers to talk, text or email while driving, they might be held liable when their employees are in a crash. According to the National Safety Council, the economic impact of that could be significant. The average economic cost of a fatal motor vehicle accident is over $1,000,000, while the economic cost of a crash with serious injuries is around $78,000.
Yet, even though 20 percent of the drivers in the survey said that work pressure is one reason they drive distracted, 74 percent of the executives surveyed said they didn’t consider distracted driving to be a great concern.
The distractions keep getting worse. Online shopping?
The Travelers survey indicated that people are engaging in potentially life-threatening distractions, including:
- Typing a text or an email — 44 percent of drivers
- Using social media — 23 percent of drivers
- Taking pictures or recording videos — 22 percent of drivers
- Online shopping — 15 percent of drivers
We all need to do our part to cut down on distracted driving, but the truth is that these drivers are endangering everyone. Online shopping simply isn’t compatible with being in charge of a motor vehicle.