2023 Travelers Risk Index Reveals Top Causes of Distracted Driving

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) today announced the results of the 2023 Travelers Risk Index on distracted driving, highlighting the dangerous behaviors that occur on U.S. roadways. While technology continues to be a leading cause of distraction, other top reasons include drowsiness, heightened emotions and work-related stress.

“Distracted driving can have devastating consequences for families and communities, with accidents, injuries and fatalities on the rise,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President of Personal Insurance at Travelers. “Avoiding distractions while driving is more than just common sense, it’s a responsible and critical step in protecting lives and promoting public health.”

Notably, 70% of survey respondents said that they believe distracted driving is more of a problem now than it has been over the past few years. That finding is underscored by estimates from the National Safety Council, which show that deaths due to preventable traffic crashes in 2022 increased by 18% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Following are highlights from the 2023 Travelers Risk Index:


Electronic devices were among the leading causes of distraction. Activities that drivers acknowledged engaging in while behind the wheel include:

Making or receiving calls (80%).

Using handheld devices (57%).

Posting social media updates (28%).

Taking photos or videos (27%).

Using technology while driving was also a challenge cited by employers, with more than 30% of executives (a 19% increase from last year) reporting that their employees have been involved in crashes while driving for business purposes because they were distracted by their mobile devices.

Drowsiness, Heightened Emotions and Work-Related Stress

Survey data also showed that emotional distraction, drowsiness and work-related stress all play significant roles in unsafe driving behaviors. More than 75% of drivers said that they have experienced stress or intense emotions while behind the wheel, and 62% said that they have driven while drowsy.

Additionally, 37% of workers surveyed said that they have taken work-related calls, texts or emails while driving. When asked why, 44% said that it might be a work-related emergency, and 43% responded that they felt the need to always be available.

Creating Safer Roadways

Respondents noted a number of steps that could motivate them to remain focused, which would help create safer roads for everyone, including:

A passenger requesting that the driver not use the phone (84%).

A financial reward for not using the phone while driving (83%).

An auto insurance discount (82%).

Increased monetary fines (81%).

“Driving is a series of microdecisions made in quick succession throughout the course of a trip,” said Chris Hayes, Assistant Vice President of Workers Compensation and Transportation, Risk Control, at Travelers. “Any type of distraction – a device, a sleepless night or stress – can make the difference between reaching your destination safely or not.”

Hayes added, “We can all help make our roads safer by taking simple steps, such as putting our phones in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, speaking up when we see a driver engaging in dangerous behaviors and not calling co-workers when we know that they’re behind the wheel.”

For more information about the Travelers Risk Index, plus ways to reduce distracted driving, please visit Travelers.com.

About the Travelers Risk Index

In January 2023, Hart Research conducted a national online survey of 1,000 consumers, ages 18 to 69, regarding their perceptions and behaviors related to distracted driving. Separately, Hart surveyed 1,116 executives from businesses of all sizes. Both surveys were commissioned by Travelers.

About Travelers

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has more than 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $37 billion in 2022. For more information, visit Travelers.com.

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