Distracted Driving


Learn how telematics can help address distracted driving

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while performing activities that divert attention away from driving. Driving while distracted has been shown to increase both the likelihood a crash will occur and the severity of that crash. Common activities that distract from driving include: texting, eating, talking on a cell phone, or interacting with a vehicle’s infotainment system.

Insurers and telematics service providers are working together to combat distracted driving through monitoring, informing, and incentivizing behavior.

What distracted driving data is collected?

While driving (and only while driving), data from drivers’ smartphones is collected along with other telematics data. Common activities monitored include:

  • Calls
  • Screen waking and sleeping
  • Active device handling
  • Other use of device

How is the data used?

Data on smartphone use is correlated with vehicle driving and contextual data to score distraction levels. This data can then be used as an additional risk factor for usage-based insurance driver behavior scoring. Insurers also use this data for feedback programs to coach drivers and reduce distracted driving.

How telematics addresses distracted driving

As part of a broader insurance telematics program, reducing distracted driving can directly improve insurers’ loss ratios through less frequent and severe accidents. This can be done by:

  • Monitoring smartphone activity to identify and score distracted driving
  • Informing drivers of distracted driving activities, reducing frequency of future distractions
  • Incentivizing safe driving behaviors through rewards and reduced insurance premiums

The impact of distracted driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the total economic cost of distracted driving exceeds $129 billion. Insurers bear the brunt of this cost in more frequent and severe accidents.

  • Smartphone distraction occurs in over half of all crashes (source)
  • Distracted driving contributes to 10% of all fatal crashes and 18% of all crashes with injuries (source)
  • Texting while driving increases the chance of an accident by 23 times (source)

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