Part 2: Distracted driving through the eyes of Ohio insurers

Welcome to Part 2 of our three-part series on insurance industry distracted driving initiatives. Thanks to our members and their concern and passion for improving driver safety. Without their determination to help turn the tide on distracted driving, this series would not have been possible.

Look for Part 3 later this week featuring:

  • Ohio laws and pending legislation
  • More member company initiatives
  • A driver distraction movement that’s uniting several OII members
  • Sneak preview of OII’s upcoming distracted driving resource page

ICYMI SEE PART 1: Insurance Industry Unites on Driver Distraction.

State Auto: Distracted driving microsite, simulators & more

OII’s Dean Fadel and Michael Farley test-drive State Auto’s distracted driving simulator.

Smartphones in the hands of motorists are driving up auto premiums, and State Auto (@StateAuto) CEO Mike LaRocco has made this his mantra in recent months.

Distracted driving is “an epidemic issue for this country,” said LaRocco at February’s Insurance Information Institute conference, which has been reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

The company has invested its people, time and money in sharing the dangers of distraction, as part of a company-wide program to help reverse the significant uptick in related crashes.

This month, State Auto launched a microsite dedicated to company distracted driving initiatives and public outreach. It includes statistics, resources and more.

To replicate the effects of driving impaired or distracted, the company purchased four distracted driving simulators for its agents and car dealerships to use in educational programs across the country.

Fans of Shark Tank may already be familiar with Drop Stops®, car wedges that prevent keys, phones, food and more from falling into the gap between car seats. State Auto has branded thousands of these to help keep drivers’ eyes on the road, providing them as giveaways at employee and community safety events.

Motorists: Reduce risk of distracted driving through education

All drivers face risks — some of which are simply beyond our control. Because of this, it’s important for drivers to be aware of ways to minimize their crash risk, which can also help keep auto premiums affordable.

The risk management team at Motorists Insurance takes loss prevention seriously, offering customer education and safety programs that help them prevent losses before they happen. The company provides education to all policyholders and employees on distracted driving.

One of the tools used to educate Motorists customers is a downloadable handout: 11 ways to minimize driver distractions. Tips to minimize risky behaviors include:

  • Keep pets off your lap while driving.
  • Avoid using your rearview mirror for grooming.
  • Remain extra focused in work zones and heavy traffic, with hands on the wheel and off the phone.

Cincinnati Insurance: Tips to discern distracted driving behaviors at any age

Although teens are more likely to be involved in crashes than any other age group, no one is completely immune from crashes involving driver distraction.

Cincinnati Insurance has dedicated a number of blog posts to distracted driving.

A recent CinFin post reported stats that find drivers of all ages, genders and backgrounds are using phones and it’s killing us – literally. The post also emphasizes the need for drivers to be conscious of not only their own behaviors, but of others. Even the post comments are telling, including this one:

“As a truck driver for two decades, I think that I have seen it all, but I continually see a significant increase in texting use. From my high vantage point, I can see inside vehicles day and night. This behavior is on the rise and it is very disturbing. In another lifetime, I was in the communications industry. We had a much [simpler] and safer life without these electronic distractions.”

Grange Insurance: Distracted driving quiz may be a wake-up call

Many of us have driving habits that we may not associate as “distractions” as part of our daily routine. Whether it’s turning up the radio or talking on the phone, certain things we do in our daily commutes or errands can actually be unsafe to us, our passengers and others on the road.

To bring awareness to distracted driving, Grange Insurance (@GrangeInsurance) posted a short quiz related to driving distractions that you may not have thought about. For example:

  • While driving, have you ever adjusted your radio playlist?
  • Touched up your makeup?
  • Looked at your GPS or a map?

Take Grange’s seven-question quiz and find out if you’re driving distracted and unaware of it.

USAA: Ongoing support of “It Can Wait” campaign

OII member USAA is an ongoing supporter of the ATT “It Can Wait” movement. In 2013, USAA launched a national tour to 10 military installations and events to demonstrate how texting while driving impairs a person’s ability behind the wheel.

417,616 viewers of USAA’s It Can Wait page have taken USAA’s pledge to avoid driving distracted as of April 20.

While visiting the site, take a look at USAA’s nine videos that will stop you from texting & driving. We guarantee their impact.

Erie Insurance: Public attitude on self-driving cars 

Autonomous driving technology has the makings of a safer, more relaxed driver experience. Although completely kicking back behind the wheel is still some time down the road, Erie Insurance (@erie_insurance) believes people are already becoming over confident in its application, even in its earliest stages. And the experts agree—distracted driving is not going away anytime soon.

“While we believe that full autonomous vehicles will greatly reduce the number of car crashes, it’s hard to predict how soon they will be widely available,” said Cody Cook, vice president and product manager of Erie’s auto department. “Current technology is going a long way to keep us safer on the road, but the last thing we want is for people to become over-confident as this technology continues to evolve.”

Supporting these beliefs, Erie recently commissioned a national survey on licensed drivers’ attitudes toward self-driving cars and distracted driving. Of those surveyed, 6 out of 10 believe self-driving cars will eliminate the problem of distracted driving. See complete survey finding and the results in infographic form in this March release.


Coming soon: OII’s Distracted Driving Resource Page

Posted: April 24, 2017