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The New Drunk Driving: Distracted Driving

A True Story

I drove out of the parking garage of our local hospital where I’d been visiting a friend. It was only 200 yards from the garage to the light at the intersection of a 4-lane highway, so I was driving slowly as I approached the traffic signal.
The light was green. I looked both ways before entering the intersection. From my left a black Mercedes was rapidly approaching. I tapped my brakes and looked again at the light. I had the green signal, but the Mercedes wasn’t stopping.

Jamming on the brakes, I halted my car before completely entering the intersection. If I hadn’t, the Mercedes would have smashed into my drivers’ side door at a high rate of speed. Though I avoided injury, the Mercedes still hit my car—it clipped off the license plate on my front bumper.

My license plate cut a long scratch down the length of the Mercedes, but otherwise no damage was done to either car. I glanced up at the traffic light. I still had the green signal.

Finally, the Mercedes jammed on the brakes and swerved to a stop on the side of a road. A teenage girl leapt from the car. In her hand was a cellphone.

U.S. Cellphone Driving Laws

“People are using their phones more while they drive, and for longer periods, despite numerous legislative efforts to curb technology-induced distracted driving,” reports senior tech writer Aaron Pressman of Fortune Magazine.1
  • 16 states and DC prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving2
  • 38 states and DC ban all cellphone use by teenage drivers2
  • 47 states and DC ban text messaging for all drivers2
In a new survey, driving data and analytics company Zendrive found:
  • 69 million drivers a day, or 60% of all drivers, use their phone at least once while driving1
  • These drivers use their phones an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds per hour1

At 55 mph, if you glance at a text for five seconds, you have traveled the length of a football field. It takes only 3 seconds from the time your attention has been diverted from the road for an accident to occur.3

According to the National Safety Council, auto deaths have experienced their largest increase in 5 decades, topping 40,000. 1

Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus sees a clear connection between phone use and the rising death rate on the roads. “The reason is that more young drivers are getting on the road and that smart phone apps are increasingly useful and addictive,” Matus said.1

AICPA Personal Liability Umbrella Insurance Plan Facts
  • 92% of personal injury claims paid involve auto accidents
  • Approximately 20% of these auto accidents involve teenage drivers
  • $1,001,321: average claim amount

Statistical data from CNA’s claim files, 2007-2016

The Hard Facts…
  • 80% of auto accidents are attributed to driver distraction3
  • 25% of all motor vehicle fatalities are attributed to distracted driving3
  • Teens are the largest age group that report being distracted while driving3
  • Auto accidents are the #1 killer of teenagers in the U.S. 3
  • 58% of teen auto accidents are the result of distracted driving3
  • Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drinking and driving3
 How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Considering that the average cost of a personal injury claim in the AICPA-endorsed Personal Liability Umbrella Insurance Plan is over $1 million, a serious auto accident can be devastating both financially and emotionally.

Turn your phone off while driving. Prohibit your teens from using the phone in the car. A good way to emphasize this point is the next time the family goes out for a drive, collect everyone’s cellphones and put them in the glove box. You’ll get to your destination safely and be teaching your teens good habits.

To learn more about the AICPA-endorsed Personal Liability Umbrella Insurance Plan, please call an AICPA Risk Advisor at 1-800-223-7473 or visit

1Pressman, Aaron, “Distracted Driving is Skyrocketing, Even with New Laws Limiting Phones in Cars,” Fortune, April 10, 2018.

 2Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2017.
 3”100 Distracted Driving Facts & Statistics for 2018,” TeenSafe, April 5, 2018.
One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to constitute a binding contract. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. “CNA" is a registered trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" trademark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities. Copyright © 2018 CNA. All rights reserved
 James Harding, CPA, CLU, CFE, CPCU is a senior vice president on the Aon Professional Firms team. Jim has over 31 years’ experience at Aon. His primary responsibility is advising CPAs regarding their personal lines insurance. You can contact him at