Driving is part of volunteering for many people, and it might be getting more dangerous because of some drivers’ mistaken beliefs. The Travelers Companies, Inc. undertook the study of road safety before and during the pandemic. The 2021 Travelers Risk Index is a national survey of business managers and consumers about driving habits. Many say they felt safer on the roads during the pandemic, but responses show drivers are using mobile devices behind the wheel in unsafe ways.
The Travelers Risk Index
Travelers commissioned two surveys from Hart Research. In January 2021, Hart surveyed 1,001 members of the general public, ages 18 to 69. In a separate effort, Hart surveyed 1,050 executives from companies of various sizes. The focus of both surveys was driver perceptions and habits as related to distracted driving.
Although survey results indicate one in four drivers thinks roads are safer now than before the pandemic, reported behaviors show a general rise in distracted driving habits that make roads unsafe, including:
- Shopping online while driving, 17% (8% before the pandemic)
- Logging onto social media, 20% (13% pre-pandemic)
- Taking pictures or videos, 19% (10% pre-pandemic)
- Emailing or texting, 26% (19% pre-pandemic)
This increase in distracted-driving practices may have led to more dangerous roadways, despite general perceptions. The National Safety Council reports motor vehicle fatalities rose 8% in 2020, despite fewer drivers and miles. This is the largest increase in highway deaths in 13 years.
Reasons Given for Distracted Driving
Many people feel increased pressure to be constantly available for work even while driving, according to survey findings, and with good reason. The survey found that 48% of business managers expected employees to respond to communications promptly, while pre-pandemic, 43% of managers had this expectation. Other reasons people gave for immediately responding to work-related communications while behind the wheel include:
- Cannot mentally stop working, 22%
- Fear of an emergency, 46%
These findings are in conflict with the number of employers who worry about liability from employee crashes attributed to distracted driving, up from 21% pre-pandemic to 27% at the time of the survey.
Volunteer Driver Training Course
The VIS Vault features the only online vehicle safety training program created specifically for volunteer drivers. “You, the ‘Professional’ Volunteer Driver” is a self-paced course that allows volunteer drivers to refresh their knowledge of the fundamentals of vehicle safety, while adding an important component on effective communication with passengers.
As a VIS member, you and all of your volunteers can have access to this course 24/7. This training is generally completed in about an hour, after which a certificate of completion for the individual volunteer is sent to the volunteer’s manager. Numerous organizations make this course standard practice for all their volunteer drivers, and let their supporters and clients know their drivers have been certified.
Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. (VIS) was established in 1972 for the purpose of providing insurance and risk management services for volunteer-based organizations. In addition to still providing these insurance services today on a nationwide scale, we have expanded to provide noninsurance resources for members to manage their risks and improve their operations. By transferring the volunteer risk exposure to our program, we can help you protect your organization. Contact us today at (800) 222-8920 for more information on our programs and services. Join now!