With Thanksgiving over, the New Year is fast approaching. From a personal risk management perspective, I can share there is ONE major safety risk that can be easily managed, though each day many of us willingly invite this risk into our lives – and the lives of our loved ones.
Driving While Distracted is an increasingly pervasive risk that many of us simply chose to accept. For those who require the alarming statistical evidence, consider:
- Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year, and 64% involved the use of a cell phone.
- Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. Yup — driving while intoxicated is statistically LESS less dangerous than driving while texting.
- Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time.
- 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
- 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
- On average, 11 teenagers die each day because they were texting while driving.
- 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations via text message while driving.
- When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
The Holiday Season helps to remind us that the well-being of ourselves and our friends and family is what is most important to us. I encourage all to make a resolution to manage the risk of distracted driving, and to compel those you care about to do the same.
There is a lot of information available to help make the changes needed to avoid distractions. The organization End Distracted Driving provides a lot of practical guidance, including a list of 11 simple steps to manage this risk: http://www.enddd.org/simple-steps-we-can-take-for-safer-driving/
Why not resolve to take the steps to manage this risk now?!
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This time each year, it seems the media is full of back-to-school protection tips advising parents and college students on how to protect their “stuff”. While the guidance is helpful, these tired articles commonly ignore the host of emerging risks that can expose a family’s assets and jeopardize the welfare of their child.
Every parent of a college student understands the degree to which their child seems tethered to their smart phone and other connected technology. The common condition of being too connected has been termed “virtual addiction”, a condition so common there is a website that offers on-line questionnaires to help the public examine the degree to which addiction describes their relationship with technology: http://virtual-addiction.com/smartphone-abuse-test/ (these tests are eye-opening…) Whether the student’s use of technology qualifies as an addiction or not, very few college students today are not at least heavy users of modern technology.
As a result, today’s college students face risks that are far more grave that a stolen laptop! Consider the following risks that can arise from the improper and unmonitored use of the modern technology at every student’s disposal:
- loss of privacy
- computer malware or virus
- stolen identity and personal information
- mis-use of social media that can cause harm to another
- texting, e mailing, snapchatting, taking selfies or just plain talking on a cell phone while driving
- sending, receiving and or forwarding illegal content
The insurance industry can help parents and students to better prepare for the above issues. Consider reviewing this helpful series of recommendations from ACE Private Risk Services. For those with college students and younger children, this helpful guide from Chubb offers a number of protection insights.
In addition to having a complete discussion with your child about the risks that can arise from their mis-use of technology, following are two specific protection recommendation I can also offer:
- Make sure the homeowner policy that provides primary liability protection for family members includes coverage for “personal injury” related risks: libel, slander, defamation, and other verbal torts. MANY homeowner policies do not! Be sure to supplement this primary liability protection with adequate excess liability insurance.
- If your college student is at school with the use of a car, install a device that restricts the use of their cell phone while operating that car! There are a growing number of providers for this important safety service, but this device from cell control has been well reviewed. (why not also take this step for those children driving cars while at home?) Preventing distracted driving is achievable, and a cause I am passionate about.
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