When work calls, drivers answer

December 28, 2017

If you commute to work by car, you likely have seen drivers doing the outrageous behind the wheel—from shaving to applying lipstick, to eating breakfast to texting. Most people know they should tune out distractions while they are driving, but overestimate their ability to operate their vehicles and multitask. However, what happens when the worst interruptions—calls, texts and emails—are coming from the boss?

About 50% of people ages 18 to 44 say they answer or conduct work-related communications while driving, according to a recent survey commissioned by Travelers, and covered by the Hartford Courant on December 27.

And of Millennials who use their phones for work-related communications while driving, 25% said that they do so because they don’t want to upset their bosses, according to the Harris Poll of more than 1,000 U.S. employees who drive for work.

Older workers are not immune to the dangerous behavior. About one-third of employees between ages 45 and 64 said they answer or conduct work-related communications while driving.

Travelers released the Risk Index this week as it announced its public policy arm, the Travelers Institute, would be holding community meetings across the country to try to raise awareness of the dangers and pressures of distracted driving.

“Distracted driving is a contributing factor and it’s a problem that won’t go away without understanding its causes and promoting behavioral changes,” Travelers Institute President Joan Woodward said. “Whether drivers are texting, eating or talking on the phone, taking their eyes off the road for even one second can cause a potentially life-changing crash.”

Research contact: rlurye@courant.com

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