Most people only think of auto insurance when they need to file a claim or shop for new coverage, but many American insurance companies have joined DOT in the fight against distracted driving.
Preventing losses is even more important than insuring them. Distracted driving advocacy and education isn’t just good for preventing losses though; for the members of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), it’s also part of our commitment to protecting our policyholders and their loved ones from real harm.
For Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the nation's auto insurance companies have been working to get the message out.
Companies like American Family, SECURA Insurance Companies, EMC Insurance Group and Amica Insurance have been taking to social media to provide statistics illustrating the risks of distracted driving--for example, taking your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds is the equivalent of driving blind for the entire length of a football field. Through their Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, America’s auto insurers also provide consumer with links to more information and advice to avoid distracted driving on their own websites, Secretary LaHood's Fast Lane blog, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Distraction.gov website.
America's insurers know that the statistics are chilling--according to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving related crashes during 2010--and we want to make sure consumers know it, too.
Many companies have also taken their message directly to drivers--particularly younger, tech savvy but less experienced drivers--by funding awareness events at schools, providing grants to distracted driving awareness programs, and running their own awareness campaigns.
NAMIC also supports efforts to help educate drivers –again with a focus on younger drivers– about the dangers of distracted driving. For example, we have supported graduated drivers’ licensing to ensure a more thorough education for young drivers before they can receive full driving privileges. Just last year, in fact, legislation to provide incentives for states to adopt graduated drivers licensing programs was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama as part of a broader highway bill.
Distracted driving is far from a new issue for the auto insurance industry. For nearly as long as there have been cars, there have been distractions--from conversing with passengers; trying to eat, apply makeup, and even shave while behind the wheel; or from fiddling with the radio.
But with more cars on the road, and with smartphones putting our friends and the entire world-wide-web at our fingertips, educating drivers--including your loved ones--about avoiding distractions is more important than ever.