A summary of the findings from the 2021 Travelers Risk Index Survey
Perception of safer roads during the pandemic does not mirror reality. That is one of the major takeaways from the 2021 Travelers Risk Index. The annual national survey queries more than 1,000 consumers and business managers regarding perceptions about risk in their daily lives.
The findings reveal that one in four drivers thinks that roads are safer today than they were before the pandemic, yet a growing number of respondents reported using their mobile devices in unsafe ways while driving, including:
- Texting or emailing (26%, up from 19% pre-pandemic).
- Checking social media (20%, up from 13% pre-pandemic).
- Taking videos and pictures (19%, up from 10% pre-pandemic).
- Shopping online (17%, up from 8% pre-pandemic).
Such driving behaviors may have contributed in part to more hazardous roads. According to the National Safety Council, 2020 motor vehicle deaths were up 8% from 2019 – the highest percentage increase in 13 years.
“Traffic volumes were lower during the early days of the pandemic, which may have given drivers a false sense of security,” said Chris Hayes, Second Vice President of Workers Compensation and Transportation, Risk Control, at Travelers. “Not only did distracted driving increase, data from our telematics product IntelliDrive shows that speeding also became more prevalent. As travel restrictions are lifted around the country, it’s critical to slow down and stay focused on the road by eliminating distractions.”
Additional findings suggest that many people may be feeling increased pressure to always be available for their jobs. This year, 48% of business managers said they expect employees to respond frequently to work-related calls, texts or emails, compared to 43% pre-pandemic. One in four respondents said they answer work-related calls and texts while behind the wheel, citing the following reasons:
- 46% said they think it might be an emergency.
- 29% said their supervisor would be upset if they don’t answer.
- 22% said they are unable to mentally shut off from work.
Yet, compared to the 2020 Travelers Risk Index results, a higher number of employers are concerned about liability from distracted driving. More than one-quarter (27%) indicated that they worry a great deal about their liability should an employee be involved in a crash because of distracted driving, up from 21% pre-pandemic.
For more information about the Travelers Risk Index and ways to reduce distracted driving, please visit Travelers.com.