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Distracted Driving Violations Generate Serious Liability for Commercial Auto Carriers

Phones require our attention more than ever before – from text messages and social media apps to work notifications and more. This has led to a considerable increase in distracted driving violations within fleets and an uptick in commercial claims each year.  

In this article, we’ll explore violations that are leading indicators of future claims, and how you can work with policyholders to avoid these common pitfalls. 

Distracted Driving Violations Predict Future Auto Claims 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,308 lives in 2022. The adage “practice makes perfect” clearly does not apply to distracted driving. In fact, the more often a driver is distracted on the road, the more likely they are to receive a violation or be involved in a collision.  

Our recent Claims Prediction Study identified the top 38 violations that increase the likelihood of a driver being involved in a claim within the next 12 months. Many of these violations can be tied directly to distracted driving, such as a driver eating or looking at their phone and forgetting to signal a lane change. 


According to our chart above, a distracted driver that forgets to signal a lane change is now 112.6% more likely to be involved in a claim within the next year. 

These distracted driving-related violations also made SambaSafety’s list of the top 20 most common violations in 2022, pulled from over 500 violations tracked throughout the year nationwide. This stresses the need for policyholders to have the right strategy in place to identify and mitigate this costly risk. 

Discover All 38 Risky Violations in our Claims Prediction Study 

Safety Requires Collaboration  

Commercial insurers can significantly decrease the likelihood of claims stemming from distracted driving violations and behaviors by cultivating a collaborative relationship with their policyholders. There are a variety of preventions and solutions available to help improve safety across the commercial auto industry.  

Let’s explore a few options that commercial carriers can leverage in collaboration with their policyholders. 

Full Fleet Visibility 

It’s important to understand the true risk within a book of business. Commercial insurers often will pull a small sample of drivers to run Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) on when underwriting new or renewal business. This approach can lead to blind spots within their book.  

Instead, carriers should leverage historical driving data as a cost-effective way to assess the risk on a fleet’s entire roster of drivers. This comprehensive approach enables insurers and policyholders to identify high-risk drivers and take appropriate measures to mitigate potential hazards.  

Continuous Driver Monitoring 

Leveraging technology, like telematics data, can help mitigate risks and reduce claims.  Telematics devices, embedded in fleet vehicles, provide a wealth of real-time information on driving behavior. They offer insights into speed, acceleration, braking patterns and driving distractions. 

By collaborating with policyholders to access and analyze this telematics data, insurers gain a comprehensive understanding of fleet operations and risk factors. They can identify potential risks associated with distracted driving behaviors such as phone usage, eating or other activities that divert attention away from the road. Armed with this knowledge, insurers can work proactively with policyholders to implement targeted interventions. 

Driver Training 

Targeted fleet driver training is a great tool to address specific risk factors identified through monitoring. Insurers and policyholders can directly target behaviors that contribute to distracted driving violations.  

These programs can encompass a range of strategies, from educating drivers on the dangers of distractions to providing practical tips for maintaining focus behind the wheel.  

Moreover, delivering training in a timely manner ensures that drivers receive the guidance they need precisely when it is most relevant, maximizing its effectiveness in promoting safer driving habits and ultimately reducing the frequency and severity of commercial claims. 

Distractions Are Avoidable 

The correlation between distracted driving violations and future claims in commercial auto insurance is undeniable. Commercial carriers and their policyholders must prioritize safety and address distracted driving head-on to avoid those seemingly minor incidents. 

Together, through proactive measures and a commitment to safer driving practices, we can reduce claims and make strides toward a future with safer roads for all. 

Download our free claims study today to discover common violations and the likelihood (by %) they will lead to a future claim! 


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