New Travelers Data Reveals Distracted Driving Spikes in Summer

Drivers are being warned about the increased risk for distracted driving this summer.

Travelers and its public policy division, the Travelers Institute, along with TrueMotion, a smartphone telematics platform, recently analyzed the behavior of more than 20,000 drivers from January 2017 to May 2018 and found that they spent less time looking at the road and more time looking at their phones during the months of June, July and August. Specifically, the findings indicate summertime drivers are distracted for an average of about 15 minutes of every hour they spend driving — an increase of nearly 10 percent when compared to the rest of the year.

“Summer road trips, vacations and holidays mean more people will be on the road, making it especially important to focus on driving and avoid distractions that could lead to accidents,” said Michael Klein, executive vice president and president of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “We launched our Every Second Matters initiative to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving and to share practical steps that can be taken to keep our roads safe.”

The summer months bring increased traffic from additional vehicles, as well as a higher number of pedestrians on the streets and more construction projects. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 20 percent more miles driven in the summer months than in winter, and the months of June, July and August have 29 percent more roadway deaths than the winter months of December, January and February.

The Travelers Institute will discuss the dangers of distracted driving and the new data from TrueMotion on June 15 during its Every Second Matters symposium on Capitol Hill. The event will be co-hosted by the National Safety Council and the Road to Zero Coalition. Joan Woodward, executive vice president of Public Policy at Travelers and president of the Travelers Institute, will be joined at the event by Klein; Charlie Klauer, research scientist and leader, Teen Risk and Injury Prevention Group, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; Robert Molloy, director for the Office of Highway Safety at the National Transportation Safety Board; and Jane Terry, senior director for Government Affairs at the National Safety Council.

“When you look away from the road, for even a few seconds, you lose the time needed to react properly to your surroundings,” said Klauer. “Our research shows the problem is only getting worse, so we need to continue talking about this in hopes that eventually distracted driving becomes as unacceptable as not wearing a seat belt or drinking and driving.”

“The risk of distracted driving is real and yet entirely preventable,” said TrueMotion CEO Ted Gramer. “Our hope is that we can make a difference by continuously emphasizing the dangers we pose to ourselves and others any time we aren’t 100 percent focused while driving.”

“It’s important that we use this information to bring more attention to the problem,” said Molloy. “We should have the conversation with our friends and family, encouraging each other to stay focused while driving, and speak up when others are engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel.”

Source: Travelers/TrueMotion