The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, will host a symposium, “Disrupting Distraction,” today at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.


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The program, part of the company’s Every Second Matters distracted-driving education series, kicks off Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and will address the latest trends and research around distracted driving and promising approaches to tackling this important public health problem.

In a survey of 500 Baltimore-area drivers commissioned by Travelers, 82 percent of respondents said they use a mobile device while driving. Some of the activities that drivers in the region admitted to engaging in while behind the wheel include:

Reading texts or emails (51 percent).

Updating or checking social media, such as Facebook or Twitter (26 percent).

Shopping online (21 percent).

Recording video (21 percent).

“Family obligations requiring attention or not wanting to miss something important were the top reasons Baltimore-area drivers gave for communicating on a mobile device while driving,” said Jessica Kearney, Second Vice President, Travelers Institute. “We know we’re putting ourselves and others at risk by allowing mobile devices and other distractions to take our attention away from the road, yet this issue persists across the country.”

Baltimore residents are not alone, as mobile devices also continue to distract drivers nationwide. According to the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, a national survey of 2,000 consumers and executives, nearly 80 percent of consumers said they make or receive phone calls while driving, and more than 30 percent admitted to having been in a near-miss or crash because they were distracted. Many respondents said they continue these risky behaviors because it would be very difficult to stop or because they feel pressure to always be available for work.

Today’s event — held in partnership with the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, the National Safety Council and the Road to Zero Coalition — will begin at 4:30 p.m. ET. It will feature a discussion with Dr. Babar Shafiq, Director, Orthopaedic Bone Health Center and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who will share firsthand experiences treating victims of distracted driving, and a panel session moderated by Kearney with experts including:

Lt. Colonel Kevin Anderson, Chief of Operations Bureau, Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Chris Hayes, Second Vice President, Transportation Services, Risk Control, Travelers.

Dr. MansourehJeihani, Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Studies, Morgan State University.

Jane Mellow, Senior Program Manager, Road to Zero Coalition, National Safety Council.

“It’s alarming how prevalent the distracted-driving problem remains in our communities, especially considering how preventable these crashes are,” said Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University, who will give a welcome address at the event. “We’re proud to work with the Travelers Institute on this event, which will generate meaningful conversations, encourage smarter choices and help make our roads safer for everyone.”

Source: Company Press Release