Heads up: Distracted driving on the rise

According to the Travelers Insurance 2021 Risk Index, people are reporting higher levels of distracted driving even though the number of daily drivers decreased from 63% pre-pandemic to 47% today. 

Travelers found the shift to less crowded roads altered people’s perception of driving with nearly a quarter of respondents saying they think the roads are safer today than prior to the pandemic. Almost one-third of respondents think their driving has improved since the pandemic.

The Risk Index found that reports of texting or emailing reached 26%, up from 19% pre-pandemic. Checking social media hit 20%, up from 13% pre-pandemic. Taking videos and pictures topped 19%, up from 10% pre-pandemic, and shopping online more than doubled – 17%, up from 8% pre-pandemic..

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is supporting the Safe to Drive Act, legislation introduced in February that is aimed at helping states curb distracted driving. The bipartisan bill would provide grants to states that pass laws banning mobile device use that can be used to enforce distracted driving laws as well as educate motorists about the risks of distracted driving.

“The trucking industry has been subject to a mobile device ban for some time and has seen the benefit it can have on safety,” said ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath. “Given data showing the majority of car-truck collisions are the result of passenger driver behavior, extending those bans to all drivers and not just truck drivers will have a positive impact on safety.”