About 12% of executives say they don't worry about the liability associated with a crash caused by a distracted employee, and 74% don't consider distracted driving to be of great concern, according to a new survey from The Travelers.
Yet, nearly eight in 10 consumers said they talk on the phone while driving, and more than 30% admit to having been in a near-miss collision because they were distracted.
The findings are the result of two separate surveys — one of 1,000 consumers that explores why motorists continue to engage in distracted driving behaviors; the other of 1,000 executives that looks at workplace accountability in relation to distracted driving.
The combined report findings, as compiled in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, conclude that the connected culture and mounting workplace expectations may be contributing to distracted driving.
Although one in four businesses reported having an employee get in a distraction-related accident while driving to work, many employers expect their people to remain connected and take few steps to discourage negative behaviors behind the wheel.
For example, while three out of four companies reported having a distracted driving policy in place, enforcement is inconsistent. Moreover, just 18% of companies require employees to set their phones to Do Not Disturb before driving.
Perhaps most disturbing is the message employees are getting about being accessible — even if they are behind the wheel.
A whopping 87% of executives said they expect workers to be sometimes or frequently reachable outside of the office. It's not surprising then that 20% of consumer respondents admit to replying to work-related messages while driving and say they do so because they fear upsetting their boss.
Nearly half of those same respondents say they always need to be available or do not want to miss a work-related emergency. Finally, 17% say drive time is when they get a lot of work done.
A majority of respondents (77%) admitted to making or taking calls when behind the wheel. Other common distracted behaviors that drivers engage in were texting or emailing (44%), using social media (23%), recording video or taking photos (22%), and shopping online (15%).