Travelers Institute Hosts Every Second Matters℠ Symposium at George Washington University To Help End Distracted Driving

New survey finds 74% of Washington-area drivers use phones behind the wheel

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will host a symposium, “Disrupting Distraction,” today at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University as part of its Every Second Matters distracted-driving education series. Co-hosted with the George Washington University Hospital, Milken Institute School of Public Health, the National Safety Council and the Road to Zero Coalition, the event will discuss the reasons many people drive distracted and explore effective approaches to curb this dangerous behavior and save lives.

Travelers recently commissioned a survey of 500 Washington-area drivers and found that 74% use their mobile device for calls or apps while driving, compared to 68% of drivers across the country who admitted to the same behavior in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index.

The survey also identified how drivers in the region are using mobile devices while behind the wheel, including:

  • Reading a text message or email (48%).
  • Searching for, selecting or scrolling through music or podcasts (41%).
  • Updating or checking social media, such as Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter (26%).
  • Recording videos or taking photos (23%).
  • Shopping online (18%).

While it’s encouraging to see that some segments of the population are using features like ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving,’ the overwhelming majority of drivers continue to access their phones when behind the wheel,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. “We’re focused on changing attitudes to help create a stigma around distracted driving and make it as socially unacceptable as driving under the influence.”

Today’s program will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and will include a panel discussion moderated by Woodward and featuring:

  • Jeff Marootian, Director, District Department of Transportation.
  • Dr. Nino Paichadze, Assistant Research Professor of Global Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.
  • Jane Terry, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Safety Council.
  • Sergeant Terry Thorne, Major Crash Investigations Unit, Metropolitan Police Department.
  • Annette Canceran Barnhart, Regional Vice President – Mid-Atlantic Region, Personal Insurance, Travelers.

Distraction has become an all-too-common form of driver impairment. Taking your eyes off the road for a moment is all it takes to cause a crash and change lives forever,” said Robert Ritter, Director, Office of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who will be the keynote speaker at today’s event. “By better understanding human behavior, we can work together to help combat this national public health issue.”

Dr. Babak Sarani, Director of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, George Washington University Hospital, who will deliver the symposium’s opening presentation, said, “Each day, trauma centers like ours see firsthand the tragic consequences of distracted driving. It’s vital that we help drivers understand how each moment of inattention puts them at risk and that they have the power to make our roads safer for everyone.”

For more information on the company’s Every Second Matters initiative, please visit the Travelers Institute website.

About the Travelers Institute

The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and to the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management, as well as the technical expertise of many of Travelers’ underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information, analysis and solutions to public policymakers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit


Stephanie Arpin, 860.277.8876

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