The statistics are sobering. Every year, about 3,000 people in the United States are killed in crashes attributed to a distracted driver. And yet, despite numerous public service announcements aired on television, radio, online and published in print collateral, these fatal crashes have hit record highs. As an insurer you may be asking “what can I do to curb this behavior?” Every April, the National Safety Council sponsors Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month is an ideal time to communicate with your customers about not only the dangers of distracted driving, but how violations can impact their insurance premiums and how they can benefit from safe driving habits. Here are actions you can take today to better manage risk from distracted driving.
Educate your policyholders
When you think about a distracted driver, you probably picture someone on his or her phone. Myriad behaviors, however, such as eating and drinking, talking to a passenger, applying makeup, or even changing the radio station all qualify as distracted driving. Your customers, especially young drivers, may not even realize their habits behind the wheel constitute distracted driving. Few drivers are aware that texting while driving at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
As my colleague Tim Grant wrote in his last blog, consistent communication with your policyholders about distracted driving is key. To help you get started on your messaging, here are a few data points:
- According to AAA, new teen drivers (ages 16-17) are three times as likely as more experienced adult drivers to be involved in a deadly crash. Distraction plays a role in about 60% of teen crashes.
- Driving with kids in the car causes parents to take their eyes off the road for an average of 3 minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute car ride. That’s 21% of the total time behind the wheel.
- Accidents involving distracted drivers injured an estimated 400,000 people in 2018, with 1 in 5 people who died being bystanders.
Some of your customers may also be unaware of state laws governing use of mobile phones while behind the wheel. Your messaging should include applicable laws and penalties. It’s also a good idea to include how a distracted violation can affect their insurance premiums.
Utilize violation data
It’s important to note that distracted driving, unlike other major violations, is difficult to ticket or prosecute by law enforcement because there is no sure way to test for distracted driving after a crash occurs. One way to protect your business is to take advantage of the predictive nature of driving violations data. Distracted drivers often fail to maintain their speed, driving faster or slower than other drivers or the speed limit. Looking at the chart below, distracted driving violations over the past year also seem to track in-line with miles driven as reported in the new 2022 LexisNexis® Auto Trends Report. By keeping an eye on these violation trends, you can better anticipate future risks and proactively adjust your rating plans to factor those projections into underwriting decisions.
Source: LexisNexis violations data as featured in the 2022 Auto Insurance Trends Report
In our next blog in this Distracted Driving Awareness Month series, we’ll cover advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and how these technologies can help mitigate, and perhaps lead to a reduction in distracted driving behaviors.
In the meantime, please contact us with any questions about our auto insurance data solutions at 800.458.9197 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.