WASHINGTON – The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) today hosted a policy briefing on “The Hazards of Driving While Distracted” on Capitol Hill to discuss policies, laws, and other measures that can improve auto and driver safety. The panelists included policymakers and leading experts from the insurance industry and advocacy organizations.
The event was the fourth installment in PCI’s 2015 Capital Engagement Series. PCI member Jim McCafferty, president and CEO of AAA Insurance of the Carolinas was joined by Chris Monk, human factors/engineering integration division chief, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); Jurek Grabowski, director of research, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety; David Kidd, senior research scientist, Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS); and Jane Terry, director of government affairs, National Safety Council. McCafferty moderated the panel.
“I am grateful for our panelists’ participation and their role in promoting drive safety-related measures. At this time of year, when families are traveling for the holidays, there is no better time to raise awareness of safety on the roads. It is important to stay focused on the road and your surroundings. Put your phone down and keep your family’s safety first,” said Nat Wienecke, PCI’s senior vice president federal government relations.
“AAA Insurance is honored to have had the opportunity to facilitate this panel discussion on PCI’s very important topic “The Hazards of Driving While Distracted.” Through the collaboration of thought leaders such as the ones here today, we hope to increase the awareness of the dangers of driving distracted,” said McCafferty.
“The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s most recent report tested new voice-activated, hands-free technology in ten passenger vehicles, and three smartphones systems and found that potentially unsafe cognitive distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after dialing, changing music or sending a text using voice commands and while the Foundation applauded both industries for working toward safer systems, distracted driving of all sorts remains a major traffic safety issue," said Grabowski.
“Many things in addition to cell phones can draw our attention away from the road, so a broad approach is required to effectively address the distracted driving issue. Existing traffic safety countermeasures like roundabouts can encourage drivers to pay more attention to the roadway, and newer vehicle technologies like front crash prevention systems can mitigate or prevent crashes, including those where the driver is distracted,” said Kidd.
“When we get behind the wheel, we have an obligation to be the best driver we can be, but drivers who justify cell phone use disregard that obligation. We prioritize convenience over safety. It’s time to keep our brain focused on driving,” said Terry.
PCI’s Capital Engagement Series is a series of briefings and policy discussions that bring together insurance industry and advocacy organization thought leaders to discuss the importance of property casualty insurance and the current issues impacting the industry. Other 2015 Capital Engagement Series briefings included “Does One Size Fit All?” A discussion on the impact of new efforts to regulate the insurance industry in the wake of the global economic crisis; “Natural Disasters: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery;” and “Everything You Need to Know about Insurance Tax.”