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Measuring and Pricing Phone Distraction Risk Blog

CMT's Latest Report on Distracted Driving: AVAILABLE NOW
May 18, 2021

Cambridge Mobile Telematics is a leader in distracted driving research and finding solutions for the heightened risk on the road. “Measuring and Pricing Phone Distraction Risk” is CMT’s latest report, segmented into four different areas of interest that discuss recent data and the future of smartphone telematics with respect to distracted driving.

The pandemic changed the way we drive, but it hasn’t changed how dangerous distracted driving is, or CMT’s commitment to researching ways to improve driver safety. 

The causative risk of phone distraction on the road has remained high throughout the pandemic. By April 15th driving distance per day had fallen by 61.7 percent and total trips per day had dropped by 59.5 percent. Although the number of drivers on the roads decreased, distracted driving rates were at a yearly high of 18.5 percent above average. CMT’s mission is to make roads safer through the use of telematics and this data shows that there is more work to be done.

Market Research
Over the course of 2020, the unprecedented coronavirus has affected our world in many ways and typical driving patterns and behaviors were no exception. Our data indicates that risky driving behavior increased significantly and has carried over into 2021. Distracted driving has increased alongside another predictive risk factor, speeding, as fewer cars on the road allowed drivers more room to accelerate over time. As 2021 moves closer to a “new normal” and more regular traffic patterns begin to return, our focus shifts towards distracted driving, as it continues to rise. 

Regulatory and Government Affairs
States have enacted harsher driving laws in an effort to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road. Since the beginning of 2020, at least nine states have enacted 12 distracted driving bills, and hand-held bans and monetary penalties have been initiated in an attempt to reduce this dangerous practice. Telematics can be a beneficial tool that can help support the concerns that result from the legal inconsistencies regarding unsafe driving and the challenging task of identifying driver’s phone-usage. 

Distraction Remains Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Averages
Distraction Remains Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Averages

Actuarial science and risk pricing
The ability to measure phone movement, interaction, and incoming and outcoming calls, allows our technology at CMT to not only indicate driving distraction, but also score it as a risk. Insurers are now able to take advantage of usage-based insurance (UBI) programs to coach and reward drivers with higher discounts and lower premiums. Using this UBI data, insurers get a better understanding of risk and can adjust their traditional pricing models based on this behavior based data.

R&D in the industry
CMT is looking to the future of safe driving and developing new technologies that can be part of the solution. Video telematics is one of these new innovations, using computer vision in commercial vehicles as another data source to improve and verify multiple aspects of distracted driving. This new rich data source will now supply our partners actuaries’ valuable insights into risky driving behavior which allows for use in developing more accurate pricing models.

Seven US States Strengthened Laws Against Distracted Driving
Seven US States Strengthened Laws Against Distracted Driving


To see a more in depth discussion and a complete data analysis of the past years driving statistics, please download “Measuring and Pricing Phone Distraction Risk.”