“If telematics can influence drivers to change behaviors and reduce the number of accidents, the nation’s roadways will be safer and auto insurance can be more affordable,” Dale Porfilio of the Insurance Information Institute said in a release.
Cellphone use is the biggest source of distracted driving, which surged 20% from February 2020-February 2022, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), which noted that insurers’ telematics programs might be a part of the solution to ween drivers off this dangerous activity.
Further, Arity reported that there was a 30% increase in the average amount of distracted driving per mile from 2019-2023.
“As drivers returned to the roads following the pandemic, distracted driving surged, causing higher rates of accidents, injuries, and deaths. This high-risk behavior has worsened in the years since, having huge implications for the insurance industry and their policyholders,” Dale Porfilio, chief insurance officer at the Triple-I, said in a release.
Changing driving behaviors
According to Arity, insurance carriers can help curb the distracted driving trend by incentivizing good driving behaviors through telematics programs.
A 2020 survey from the Insurance Research Council found that 80% of drivers who enrolled in a telematics program changed how they drove. Among telematics program participants, nearly half said that participating “significantly” changed the way they drove, while 32% said the changes were incremental. Around 20% said they made no changes after enrolling in a telematics program.
Further, 34% of drivers said the changes were either permanent or that they rarely reverted to old driving habits, according to the IRC.
David Corum, vice president of the Insurance Research Council, noted that the survey results show the role that the insurance industry can play in reducing instances of distracted driving.
“These findings suggest that telematics programs play a beneficial role in promoting safe driving and reducing the frequency of auto accidents and their associated costs,” Corum said in a release.
According to Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a 10% reduction in distracted driving would prevent more than 300 deaths and save the U.S. around $9.8 billion annually.
“If telematics can influence drivers to change behaviors and reduce the number of accidents, the nation’s roadways will be safer and auto insurance can be more affordable,” Porfilio said.