CHICAGO — With vehicle crashes and fatalities rising sharply across the country, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging drivers to be especially mindful of auto safety and avoid distracted driving this Labor Day weekend. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, Labor Day is one of the deadliest holiday weekends, averaging 423 traffic fatalities each year between 2012 and 2016.
“During the Labor Day holiday, millions of travelers take to the roads. Traffic congestion along with risky behaviors could create a deadly combination causing a rise in the number of crashes and even fatalities. The combination of traffic congestion and risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving could cause in a spike in the number of crashes and fatalities,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of personal lines policy at PCI. “Every time we get in the car, we see people texting or talking on their cell phones behind the wheel. Increasingly, drivers are also posting on social media, scrolling through playlists, live streaming video, and watching television shows instead of giving their full attention to the road. Distracted drivers pose a risk to themselves, their passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and everyone on the road.”
Risky driving behaviors result in more crashes. In 2016, NHTSA data showed 39 states with an increase in fatalities. As the number of crashes increase, so have the costs associated with those crashes. Newer cars are equipped with advanced computers, which are more expensive to repair. Additionally, medical care and litigation costs associated with crashes are also skyrocketing.
“While safety is always the first concern, these trends can impact consumers’ pocketbooks by putting upward pressure on insurance costs,” said Passmore. “Finishing our phone calls, sending our texts, and setting our music and maps before putting the car in drive are some of the simplest and most effective actions we all can take to prevent crashes. Addressing driver behavior can save lives and reduce costs for everyone.”
PCI’s Top 5 Safe Driving Tips: