What Business Owners Should Know About Distracted Driving and Commercial Auto Insurance

Woman is texting on smartphone while driving a car and leads herself to danger.

Are you among the 30% of drivers who feel confident in their ability to text and drive? Do you think you’re good at distracted driving?

You’re not, and neither are your employees. You are 23 times more likely to get into an automobile accident texting while driving.

If you’re driving at 55 mph and take your hands off the road for the 4.6 seconds it takes to answer that text, that’s just so important, you’ve just driven the length of a football field without looking at the road.

And that’s if you’re just giving a quick, simple “yes” or “no” answer.

Driving requires high-level brain activity and simple things like talking on the phone while driving (even hands-free) decreases your ability to process moving images by up to a third.

This actually makes a lot of sense if you consider that it’s impossible for human beings to multitask, which is defined as being able to do two things at once. Our brains can switch tasks, but it’s impossible to truly multitask.

Unconvinced? Solve these two problems at the same time:

2+12 =                         16+7=

You answered one and then the other, but you didn’t answer them simultaneously, did you?

What does this have to do with commercial auto insurance? Quite a lot, actually.

Knowing about the hazards of distracted driving and how to overcome them for your business is the first step toward keeping you, your employees, and other people safe, not to mention your commercial auto insurance premiums down.

What is Distracted Driving?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as “doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving.” There are three main categories of distractions:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

How many of these common distractions have you engaged in while driving?

  • Texting
  • Talking on a Phone
  • Using GPS/Navigation System
  • Eating
  • Using Phone
  • Watching a Video
  • Grooming/Combing Hair/Applying Makeup
  • Reaching for Items
  • Managing Pets
  • Sightseeing/Rubbernecking
  • Watching Other Passengers
  • Managing Children
  • Listening to Music/Audiobooks
  • Using Infotainment Systems
  • Daydreaming
  • Falling Asleep
  • Reading
  • Looking at maps

Why is Overcoming Distracted Driving Important for your Business?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), about 20% of injuries from car accidents occur because of distracted driving.

Distracted driving poses serious risks to your business and the safety of yourself and your employees. Not only can motor vehicle accidents result in high premiums, deductibles, and lawsuits, but more importantly, there’s the human cost to consider: bodily injury and possibly even death.

Since employee drivers are on the road for more hours per day and drive more miles annually, they’re more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident simply because of the nature of their job.

Business vehicles like large vans, buses, and trucks have worse visibility than cars, they’re harder to control, and they take longer to stop in the event of an emergency. And what if they’re hauling a heavy load or pulling a trailer? Or if the weather is bad? Or if the driver of your company vehicle is having a bad day and isn’t focused on the road? These scenarios can result in disaster.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Research has been proving that distracted driving is a serious threat to public safety, and small business owners and personnel would do well to consider these chilling distracted driving statistics:

  • The chance that you or one of your employees will be involved in an auto accident while driving a company vehicle this year: 20%.
  • Drivers using cell phones fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment (stop signs, broken-down vehicles, pedestrians, etc.).
  • About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.
  • 587 non-occupants (e.g., pedestrians and cyclists) died in a crash that involved a distracted driver in 2020.
  • 3,142 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2020.
  • 54% of drivers believe distracted and aggressive driving has increased since the pandemic.
  • 30% of drivers report feeling more anxious driving than before the pandemic.
  • 86% of employers expect employees to respond to work-related messages while out of the office during work hours.
  • 42% of drivers accept work-related calls and texts while driving.
  • Drivers under 35 are ten times more likely than drivers 55 and older to think they can safely text and drive.
  • One-third of drivers are confident in their own ability to text and drive.
  • 90% of drivers say texting while driving should be illegal.
  • 62% of 18-34-year-olds are very or somewhat confident in their ability to text while driving, while only 6% of individuals 55 and older felt the same confidence.
  • Twice as many men (21%) as women (11%) are “very confident” in their ability to text while driving. Despite that confidence, 88% of men and 97% of women think texting should not be allowed.
  • 83% of individuals believe police should be able to pull over drivers for texting.
  • The most common feelings evoked when seeing another driver texting is concern (62%) followed by irritation (50%). These top two feelings didn’t vary by age or gender.

Distracted Driving Statistics

The startling statistics listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, and technology has made the distracted driving problem worse, not better.

So, what can you do as a business owner to protect your livelihood, your employees, and others while saving money on commercial auto insurance premiums?

Consider the following tips to ensure that your employees operate in safe and responsible ways when operating company vehicles:

  • Develop/Create Formal Safe Driving Policies
  • Communicate Safe Driving Policies
    • A recent study by Traveler’s Insurance found that only 27% of businesses surveyed had a Safe Driving Policy, and only 1 in 4 of their employee drivers were aware of it.
  • Enforce Safe Driving Policies
  • Lead by Example – Top Managers/Leaders
  • Promote/Incentivize Safe Driving Behavior
  • Encourage Drivers to Use Do Not Disturb Modes
    • These can reduce or eliminate notifications, calls, and texts and can be customized to meet your needs.
  • Encourage Your Drivers to Pull Over if They Need to Make a Call
  • Educate Drivers on Distracted Driving
  • Ban All Phone Use (texting, handheld, hands-free) While Driving a Company Vehicle (including company-issued phones while driving a personal vehicle)
  • Require Workers to Pull Over in a Safe Location to Text/Call/Use a Phone
  • Use Phone-Blocking Technology to Limit Workers’ cell phone use while driving.
  • Consider using technology that detects and warns drivers of distracted driving behaviors (such as cameras that detect when eye gaze is not on the road).
  • Prepare workers before implementing these policies by communicating:
    • That driving is their primary job when they are behind the wheel
    • How distracted driving puts them at risk of a crash
    • What they need to do to comply with your company’s policies
    • What action you will take if they do not follow these policies
  • Consider having workers acknowledge that they have read and understand these policies.
  • Provide workers with information to help them talk to their families about distracted driving.

Distracted driving poses a major threat to your business and your employees, but luckily, there are actions you can take to help mitigate your risks. Want to know more about commercial auto insurance for your small or medium business? Contact us today. We’ll be happy to help you out.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Distracted Driving.

Harvard Business Review. You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying.

ICT Membership links on Distracted Driving.

Nationwide Insurance. Distracted Driving: Moving Beyond Policy to Process and Performance.

Progressive. Drivers think distracted driving is causing more accidents than driving drunk, but a surprising number claim to be good at it.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Motor Vehicle Safety at Work.

Travelers. 2022 Distracted Driving for Business [Infographic].

*Disclaimer: We offer content for informational purposes; Co-operative Insurance Companies may not provide all the products listed here. Please contact your local agent to find out more about how we can help with your insurance needs.

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