The distracted driving crisis

Insurance Insights | July 4, 2018

The distracted driving crisis


Distracted driving is officially a crisis: the number of deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving has topped that from drunk driving.

After so many years of advocacy against drunk driving, this comes as a terrible disappointment. Here we are, after so many years, drunk driving has finally developed a well deserved taboo.

For example, one would never get in the car with a drunk driver. The world has changed and put things in place so making arrangements to avoid drunk driving is not as big of a deal as it used to be. There is less hesitation to name a designated driver and more possibilities to make alternate transportation or lodging arrangements in case of alcohol consumption.

However, we’re not treating distracted driving the same way. Many people would have no qualms about being a passenger with a driver who is checking their phone. There’s no comparable stigma around distracted driving as there is around drunk driving.

Fortunately, there are many minds at work on this challenge: the government, the police, the insurance companies and insurance brokers are all rolling out initiatives to reduce distracted driving.

The government is making the laws around distracted driving more strict by introducing higher fines, automatic driver’s licence suspensions and handing out more demerit points.

The police are patrolling in plainclothes and unmarked cars to catch drivers. Some officers are riding busses, trucks and other large vehicles to peak into cars and catch texting drivers.

Our partners at the insurance companies tell us that there is a big challenge with making car insurance affordable when so many people are getting in accidents arising from distracted driving. So on one hand people complain about auto insurance being so expensive, but on the other hand text behind the wheel and cause accidents.

For our part, we are putting our customers in the know about all the latest news and developments. Upcoming legislation will make it possible to hold businesses and individuals liable if they are knowingly calling or texting drivers while the later are driving and the drivers gets into an accident.

Apart from smartphones, distractions include any time the drivers takes their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. Some of the following may not necessarily get you ticketed, but remain common distractions.

1. Turning around to the back seat to adjust your child in his seat is distracted driving.

2. Fiddling with the digital gadgets and gizmos on your dashboard is distracted driving.

3. Turning around to face your passengers.

4. Loud music.

If you’re a parent looking to add your son or daughter to your policy, be aware that you can be held liable if you text/call your teen and they crash while engaging with your message. Businesses can also be held liable if their communication causes their driver to get in an accident.

How are you combating distracted driving? Please feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts!