Distracted Driving: Part II

Welcome back to Part II of our Distracted Driving series! Again, thank you to our friends at Travelers Institute for providing us with this important information.


When working together to develop safe habits, we can make a positive difference, said Chris Hayes, Assistant Vice President, Workers Compensation and Transportation, Risk Control, at Travelers, adding, “Drivers can set expectations for their friends and family, passengers can speak up to distracted drivers, and everyone can avoid calling or texting loved ones who are behind the wheel.”

Our research shows drivers generally respond positively when a passenger speaks up about distracted driving. Yet, in many settings, passengers may be reluctant to do so. Speaking up against distracted driving is effective. Distracted drivers are more likely to correct their behavior when passengers speak up, according to the 2022 Travelers Risk Index. 

As a passenger, you can reduce road dangers by becoming more comfortable speaking up with any distracted driver. These types of requests are often well received, with 87% of respondents who use a phone while driving saying they would be less likely to do so if a passenger mentioned it.


The Travelers Risk Index results also suggest that managers can play an important role in reducing distracted driving. The majority of business managers (86%) expect employees to respond to work-related communications at least sometimes while outside the office during work hours. One-third expect employees to answer or participate in work calls while driving. 

Such pressure from managers may contribute to the number of respondents who say they take work-related calls, texts or emails while driving. When asked why, 43% of those respondents stated that they think the communications might be a work-related emergency, 39% felt they always need to be available, and 19% said their boss will be upset if they don’t answer.

 Managers can help change driver expectations and improve road safety by regularly stressing safe driving behavior and letting employees know that they do not expect responses to work-related communications while driving. Managers can tell employees who are driving to find a safe place to park when communication is necessary.

Establish a clear and consistent policy prohibiting calls while driving and model the behavior for employees. Business leaders should deliver the policy message in a heartfelt, committed manner, for example, “There is a business reason this makes sense, but more importantly, I want you, and those around you, to stay safe.”

The leading source of workers compensation fatalities is car crashes. Consistent vetting and training and persistent reinforcement of safe driving are keys to a worker safety program when workers are driving vehicles on behalf of the business. 


Model the behavior you want your family to follow. “Teenage drivers will model their parents’ driving behavior, but will do so with less driving skill,” said Chris Hayes, Assistant Vice President, Workers Compensation and Transportation, Risk Control, Travelers. Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens aged 13 to 19.


Telematics is the technology that collects driving data from connected vehicles, IoT devices, or from mobile devices, such as a smartphone. Telematics powers programs like usage-based insurance or “Pay How You Drive” car insurance, by evaluating driving behaviors, like speed, hard braking, distraction, and more. Among other things, this information may be used by an insurance company to produce a score that can help customize your auto insurance premium and offer discounts, rewards, and other incentives for safe driving behaviors. 

Telematics programs that use a smartphone app can reveal a driver’s phone use behind the wheel. This can include how often and for how long the driver is actively or passively interacting with the phone while driving. Active interaction includes activities like swiping, typing or answering hand-held calls, while passive interaction includes activities like talking on the phone via a Bluetooth or playing music from the phone through an in-vehicle system.

Telematics programs are showing real promise to help make drivers more aware of their distraction behind the wheel and help them correct it. In fact, Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) reports that highly engaged drivers using a telematics program (defined as people who engage with their telematics app at least three times a week) are 57% less distracted than unengaged drivers. CMT data also shows that highly engaged drivers using a telematics program are 65% safer across all risk events than unengaged drivers.

Telematics adoption is surging, as more and more drivers are offered telematics services and choose to use them. According to a study by TransUnion, the number of U.S.-based consumers offered telematics increased by 25% from November 2021 to March 2022, reaching 40% of consumers. The number of consumers choosing telematics rose to 65% in the same time period, a 33% increase. This suggests that more drivers are recognizing the benefits of using telematics to improve their driving habits, including reducing distracted driving. 


Sometimes, it is not your actions as a driver that lead to dangerous situations, but the actions of others. As a driver, you can proactively protect yourself and your family, as well as others that share roadways.

  • Assume you are invisible. It can be easy to assume everyone else on the road is paying attention, following traffic laws and can see you clearly. However, that is not always the case. The next time you are expecting other drivers to respect your right of way or let you merge into another lane, do not assume they are paying attention.
  • Avoid aggressive driving. Whenever you are on the road, resist the urge to drive aggressively. Obey all traffic laws, avoid unnecessarily switching lanes or passing fellow motorists and drive defensively. See yourself as part of a community of drivers – all trying to get to your destinations safely. Your improved driving behavior may rub off on others and help create safer conditions for everyone on the road.
  • Control your emotions. Taking the high road emotionally is the best option. Remember to be patient, keep a safe following distance and avoid confronting aggressive drivers.
  • Lead by example. Changing social norms around distracted driving starts with good drivers setting positive examples for others about what is, and what is not, acceptable behavior on the road. When you’re a passenger, speak up about any dangerous distracted driving behaviors you witness.
  • Eyes up! Where the driver is looking tends to be related to where the driver is paying attention. The longer the driver looks away from the road, the higher the likelihood of getting into a crash.

The National Safety Council recommends a minimum three-second following distance for light vehicles like cars. Larger vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, can require seven seconds of following distance in ideal conditions when behind other vehicles. 


Travelers, 2022 Travelers Risk Index https://www.travelers.com/resources/risk-index

Travelers, 2022 Travelers Risk Index https://www.travelers.com/resources/risk-index

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/teen-drivers/index.html

Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

Cambridge Mobile Telematics data, used with permission 2022

TransUnion 2022 https://newsroom.transunion.com/inflation-drives-33-surge-in-auto-telematics-adoption-in-first-quarter-of-2022/

National Safety Council, Reference Material for DDC Instructors, 10th Ed.