Travelers Institute Hosts Distracted Driving Symposium at the Wisconsin School of Business

December 5, 2019

Survey finds 73% of Madison-area drivers use phones behind the wheel

MADISON, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will host a symposium, “Harnessing Behavioral Science, Tech and Innovation to Combat Distracted Driving,” today at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The final event of the 2019 Every Second Matters℠ distracted-driving educationseries will explore insights into human behavior, technological innovations, advances in auto safety and other developments that may reveal promising approaches to combating distracted driving and saving lives.

Travelers surveyed nearly 400 Madison-area drivers and found that 73% use their mobile device for calls or apps while driving, compared to 68% of drivers across the country who admitted to the same behavior in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index.

The survey also identified how drivers in the area are using mobile devices while behind the wheel, including:

  • Reading a text message or email (49%).
  • Searching for, selecting or scrolling through music or podcasts (37%).
  • Updating or checking social media, such as Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter (24%).
  • Recording videos or taking photos (19%).
  • Shopping online (15%).

“Technology is often a cause of distraction, but it can also be used as a tool to encourage safer driving,” said Pete Gulbrandsen, Vice President, Personal Insurance Product Management, Travelers, a University of Wisconsin – Madison alumnus who will speak at the event. “Our IntelliDrive program uses telematics to provide feedback on driver behaviors, which can help people better understand what they are doing behind the wheel. Combined with stricter laws and increased awareness of its dangers, we can help reduce distracted driving and make the roads safer for everyone.”

Co-hosted with the Wisconsin School of Business Department of Risk and Insurance, the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, the Risk Management and Insurance Society at University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, today’s program will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT and will feature a panel discussion moderated by Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. The panel will include:

  • Andrea Bill, Traffic Safety Research Program Manager, Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • Dr. John Lee, Emerson Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • Pete Gulbrandsen, Vice President, Personal Insurance Product Management, Travelers.

“Distraction comes in many forms, and mobile phones are not the only pieces of technology vying for our focus behind the wheel,” said Dr. Lee, who will deliver a presentation on automated vehicle technology at the event. “While the technology and new features that come with vehicle automation hold great promise for the future of roadway safety, it’s vital that we understand their limitations and potential impact on driver attention.”

For more information on the company’s Every Second Matters initiative, please visit the Travelers Institute website.

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, 860.277.8876

Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.