Are Your Drivers Distracted?

July 8, 2024
Annual Travelers Insurance risk index sees increase in phone use accidents.

Travelers Insurance’s recently released 2024 Distracted Driving Risk Index has specific data on construction businesses and distracted driving—and the results should raise eyebrows about driver behavior.

Two-thirds (66%) of construction business owners worry about their liability because of employee distracted driving, up almost 10 percentage points compared to 2023. Those concerns are warranted because 24% of construction business owners have had an employee in an accident while driving for work due to distraction from mobile use, compared to 20% last year.

This comes despite 68% of construction businesses surveyed having an official policy about employees using a phone while driving.

The results also show that many of the common distractions that had been consistently declining have rebounded in recent years, with some even surpassing pre-pandemic figures. Crashes and near misses due to distracted driving have also increased. 

Behaviors that are on the rise since before the pandemic include:

  • Updating or checking social media: +13%.
  • Typing a text or email: +10%.
  • Talking on a cellphone (hands-free): +10%.
  • Using a cellphone to record videos/take photos: +9%.
  • Reading a text or email: +9%.

“Distraction is one of the leading causes of roadway fatalities, and it continues to have a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities,” said Michael Klein, EVP and president of personal insurance at Travelers. “Creating safer roadways requires action from each of us, and while the survey results show that people are concerned about distracted driving, they are still unfortunately taking dangerous risks.”

Notably, nearly half of respondents believe roads are less safe than they were one year ago, and 78% believe inattentive driving is more of a problem now than it has been in past years.

The latest official data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) underscores those findings, as U.S. traffic deaths jumped by 10.5% in 2021, and NHTSA’s estimates since then show a similarly high fatality rate.. 

Consistent with the findings of previous years, the 2024 Travelers Risk Index indicated that several factors could motivate drivers to remain focused, including passengers voicing their concerns (86%) and financial rewards for safe driving (86%). 

“Distracted driving is a preventable crisis,” said Chris Hayes, assistant VP of workers compensation and transportation, risk control, at Travelers. “If you’re the passenger in a vehicle, speak up if the driver isn’t paying attention to the road. If you’re an employer, avoid calling employees when you know they’re driving. If you’re a parent, be a positive role model by putting the phone away and avoiding distractions when you’re behind the wheel.”

Earlier this year, Hart Research conducted a national online survey of 1,000 consumers, ages 18 to 69, regarding their perceptions and behaviors related to distracted driving. Separately, Hart surveyed 1,050 executives from businesses of all sizes. Travelers commissioned both surveys.


About the Author

Frank Raczon

Raczon’s writing career spans nearly 25 years, including magazine publishing and public relations work with some of the industry’s major equipment manufacturers. He has won numerous awards in his career, including nods from the Construction Writers Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and BtoB magazine. He is responsible for the magazine's Buying Files.