A recent Harris Poll commissioned by Travelers shows work-related communications are an important contributor to distracted driving in the U.S.

The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees who drive indicated that 43% of respondents answer or make work-related communications while driving—including answering or making work-related phone calls and reading or sending texts or emails for work.

Reasons drivers give for working while driving range from feeling the need to be available all the time (38%), fear of missing something important (37%), wanting to please their boss (17%), and not being able to mentally disconnect from work (15%).

Twenty-seven percent of employees who drive reported that their boss has called and/or texted them even though the boss knew they were driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

And although teens were the largest age group reported by NHTSA as distracted at the time of fatal crashes, the Travelers survey indicates that, when it comes to work-related distracted driving, Generation X workers (ages approximately 35–44) are just as likely as their millennial colleagues (18–34) to answer or initiate work-related communications while driving.

Twenty-seven percent of employees who drive reported that their boss has called and/or texted them even though the boss knew they were driving.
More than half of both generations (54% each) admitted to doing this. That number decreases among drivers 45–54 years old (37%) and 55–64 (33%).

Potentially Life-Changing

“The National Safety Council reported more than 40,000 traffic fatalities in 2016,” says Joan Woodward, executive vice president, public policy and president of the Travelers Institute—the public policy division of Travelers.

“Distracted driving is a contributing factor, and it’s a problem that won’t go away without understanding its causes and promoting safe behavior.

“Whether drivers are texting, eating, or talking on the phone, taking their eyes off the road for even one second can cause a potentially life-changing crash.”

To educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving, Travelers launched it’s Every Second Matters national initiative targeting the problem.

Through a series of forums held across the country by the Travelers Institute, the campaign looks to bridge the gap between why many people believe distracted driving is dangerous, and yet nearly a quarter of Americans admit doing it.

The Travelers Institute is also releasing a report, Every Second Matters: A Conversation Starter on Reducing Distracted Driving Risk, which explores recent trends in motor vehicle accidents and provides safe driving tips.