Distracted driving: Survey says it’s not me, it’s the other guy?

Graphics: The Travelers Indemnity Co.

A new survey by Travelers Insurance shows that Americans are seriously concerned about distracted driving – not so much by their own, but by others’.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m a stickler on this (“Fleet safety reminders: Stay off the phone, secure all axes”), and even so, I’m inclined to leave a tablet propped up where I can check my navigation and maybe – maybe – catch a glance at an incoming email while I’m on the road.

I also know that even those oh-so-brief glances, at a certain poor yet perfectly precise moment, could lead to an accident – yet I do it anyway. So I’m passing along the results from this survey as another heads-up to fleet managers.

The bottom line: 85 percent of adults rate distracted driving as major concern or somewhat of a concern. (Have a look at Slide 1 for the demographic breakdown.)

More interestingly, 89 percent are concerned about getting into an accident involving another driver’s distracted driving.

But when asked if they fear that their own distraction by a mobile device or other technology would lead to trouble, only 31 percent say it is a major concern or somewhat of a concern, and 51 percent say they are not concerned at all. (Slide 2)

Also of note, there is an age divide between younger and older drivers when it comes to concern about technology behind the wheel – but it’s the opposite of what I would’ve predicted: Drivers under the age of 40 are nearly twice as concerned about electronic distraction than those over 40. (Slide 3)

Either we’re teaching our children well, or we’re hypocrites and they’ve decided for themselves to take the risk seriously.

On the other hand, members of the so-called millennial generation are less concerned about computer and technology risks and loss of personal privacy compared to older generations. In this age group, born in the 1980s to mid-1990s, 53 percent say they have no concern about these risks, compared with 34 percent in older age groups. (Slide 4)

So what does that say? Heck if I know. But I’m still not texting and driving, and I change my passwords regularly.

Of course, fleet managers should also regularly evaluate the risks throughout your operation as well as your insurance coverage.

The complete Travelers survey about the things we worry about is available here.