Reducing Distracted Driving

From an increase in texting to the emergence of taking Zoom calls while behind the wheel, distracted driving is still a major concern during the pandemic. Even more so as traffic levels begin to return to pre-pandemic levels. The National Safety Council (NSC) found that miles driven over the months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic dropped dramatically due to stay-at-home orders. While it may seem that almost deserted roadways should be safer, the fatality rate actually increased in May by 23.5% even though the number of miles driven dropped by 25.5%. This corresponds with findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showing there was a significant reduction in road traffic accidents during lockdowns, but not in accidents resulting in serious or fatal injuries.

According to the NSC, vehicle crashes are the number one cause of workplace deaths - more than the number two and number three causes combined. Don't let a distracted drive be the last drive you take.

Organizational leaders should be reviewing their distracted driving policies and PHLY recommends the following three steps to help facilitate that review:

1. Learn the facts
There are three types of distractions: manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel), visual (taking your eyes of the road), and cognitive (not focusing on driving). These types of distractions can lead to inattentive blindness, when a driver fails to see and process their driving environment. Cell phones can cause all three types of distraction. In fact, a study from the University of Utah showed the reaction time of a driver using a cell phone is slower than that of someone legally drunk with a .08 blood alcohol level.

2. Take personal responsibility
While cell phones are commonly the focus of distracted driving, PHLY recommends that you examine your driving habits and eliminate all distractions, including eating, grooming, or dealing with non-driving functions, while behind the wheel. PHLY supports the use of phone apps that can reduce or eliminate cell phone distractions. Go here to review a list compiled by Verizon Wireless. An additional app to consider is Lifesaver App. You can also use the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your phone while you are driving to help minimize distractions.

3. Advocate for change in your workplace
Regardless of your role, everyone can take steps to positively affect how our organizations address distracted driving. PHLY recommends the following best practices:

  • Create and enforce a policy for cell phone use while driving
  • Train employees on local cell phone use laws and how they can best handle cell phone distractions while driving
  • Use cell phone apps to limit usage while driving
  • Apply cell phone use policies whether employees are in their own vehicles or company-owned vehicles while driving for business purposes
  • Look into and sign up for PHLYTRAC, a telematics solution that is available to all vehicle fleets insured by PHLY. This telematics program provides insights into driver behavior, including alerts for hard braking, which can be an indication of distracted driving
Online Distracted Driver Training

PHLY offers an online distracted driver training course to help educate people about being safer behind the wheel. Watch the video below for an overview.

This training is available to all PHLY customers through MyPHLY. Follow these steps to access the training:

1. Log in or create an account on
2. On the left navigation, click on "Risk Management Services"
3. Under "e-Training" click on "Distracted Driver Training"

If you need assistance, you may contact our Risk Management Department. Additional information about distracted driving can be found in our Distracted Driving Bulletin.

IMPORTANT NOTICE - The information and suggestions presented by Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company are for your consideration in your loss prevention efforts. They are not intended to be complete or definitive in identifying all hazards associated with your business, preventing workplace accidents, or complying with any safety related, or other, laws or regulations. You are encouraged to alter them to fit the specific hazards of your business and to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and company policies.

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