Travelers Finds Nearly Half of Philadelphia Area Drivers Surveyed Read Texts and Emails While Driving

December 11, 2018

Travelers Institute and University of Pennsylvania research centers host event on innovative approaches to reducing distracted driving

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will host a symposium, “Harnessing Science, Tech and Innovation to Combat Distracted Driving,” today at the University of Pennsylvania. The program, part of the company’s Every Second Matters℠ distracted driving education series, is being held in conjunction with the Behavioral Science and Analytics for Injury Reduction Lab, the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, the Penn Injury Science Center, Penn Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Injury Research and Prevention. The session will address the behavioral science behind distracted driving and explore research-driven approaches to increasing roadway safety.

Mobile devices continue to distract drivers in the greater Philadelphia area. Travelers recently commissioned a survey of 435 of them and found that 75 percent use a mobile device while driving, with 91 percent of millennials, 79 percent of Gen Xers and 64 percent of baby boomers engaging in this behavior.

The survey also identified how drivers in the region are using mobile devices while behind the wheel. Top activities included:

  • Reading texts or emails (48 percent).
  • Updating or checking social media, such as Facebook or Twitter (23 percent).
  • Recording video (18 percent).

“Crashes caused by people choosing to look at their phone rather than the road are entirely preventable,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President, Personal Insurance at Travelers. “Technology like a ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your phone, which only 9 percent of our survey respondents said they use, is one solution thatcan help more drivers stay focused. Distracted driving remains a significant danger in Philadelphia and across the country, underscoring the importance of education, research and action.”

When it comes to preventing driver distraction, the Travelers survey found that the greatest deterrent for all ages comes from the fear of causing a collision (40 percent). This ranked higher than having a loved one involved in a collision related to distracted driving; having the option to utilize mobile device blocking technology; and legislation prohibiting phone use.

Today’s symposium addressing behavioral insights and technology solutions will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and feature a panel discussion and presentations from leading experts, including:

  • Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and President, Personal Insurance; Head of Enterprise Business Intelligence & Analytics, Travelers.
  • Kit Delgado, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Katherine Milkman, Ph.D., Professor of Operations, Information & Decisions, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Kevin Volpp, M.D./Ph.D., Director, Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics; Founders President’s Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Policy, and Health Care Management, Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Rafi Finegold, Vice President, Loyalty & Behavior, TrueMotion.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Joan Woodward, President, Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President, Public Policy, Travelers.

“Distracted driving has become a national public health issue,” said Dr. Delgado, who is also a practicing trauma center physician. “There are many lessons to be learned from the study of human behavior and behavior change. When you combine that with new, scalable technology available in today’s smartphones, there may be promising avenues to explore to help combat the distracted driving epidemic.”

Visit the Travelers Institute’s website for more information about the company’s Every Second Matters campaign.

Travelers Survey Methodology
The CARAVAN survey was conducted by Engine on behalf of Travelers Nov. 20–25, 2018, among a sample of 502 Philadelphia residents, 435 of whom are drivers, ages 18 or older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Stephanie Arpin at

About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and to the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management, as well as the technical expertise of many of Travelers’ underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information, analysis and solutions to public policymakers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit

Stephanie Arpin

Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.