Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Distractology 101™ Tour Celebrates 5 Years

Anti-Distracted Driving Program Educates Nearly 10,000 Drivers In More Than 120 Local Towns

QUINCY, Mass.--()--April of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Distractology 101 tour. The program was one of the first in the country to address distracted driving with young, inexperienced drivers. Nearly 10,000 teenagers have completed the Distractology 101 training to date. The tour has visited more than 120 towns in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. More than 100 high schools have participated.

“Distracted driving continues to be a widespread epidemic across the country with no sign of slowing, and our young, inexperienced drivers are especially vulnerable to this danger”

The Distractology 101 campaign features a 36-foot-long, mobile classroom outfitted with high-tech driving simulators. The classroom travels to high schools across New England and leads students though a variety of true-to-life distracted driving scenarios including texting and cell phone use, educating participants to anticipate hidden hazards, react to the road and avoid accidents. Participants also complete the online portion of the curriculum at www.DistractU.com.

“Distracted driving continues to be a widespread epidemic across the country with no sign of slowing, and our young, inexperienced drivers are especially vulnerable to this danger,” said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group, and chairman of the Arbella Insurance Foundation. “According to a study by AAA, 86 percent of teen drivers have driven while distracted, even though 84 percent know it’s dangerous. This startling number highlights the need for continued education on the dangers of distracted driving so we can prevent unnecessary tragedies and keep our teens safe on the roads. We’re proud to launch the fifth year of Distractology 101, and we remain committed to helping defeat this epidemic.”

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. A 2015 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distraction was a factor in nearly six out of ten moderate-to-severe teen crashes. This number is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.

The Distractology 101 simulator, based on Arbella Foundation-funded research conducted with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass Amherst), will travel to various communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island during 2015, offering 45 minutes of simulated distracted driving to each participant. Members of Arbella’s network of more than 500 independent insurance agents volunteer their time hosting the training in their own communities.

“Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among 16-19 year-olds in the United States, and their risk of being involved in a fatal crash is almost three times higher than drivers aged 20 and older,” said Dr. Donald L. Fisher, professor and a department head in the College of Engineering, UMass Amherst, and national expert on distracted driving. “We teamed up with Arbella to create a simulator that mimics real life distracted driving and educates young drivers about the hazards of this dangerous behavior. By participating in the training, new drivers can be better equipped at anticipating hazards and abstaining from dangerous behavior.”

"It's (Distractology) very realistic and educational. It could help teen drivers now and in the future. I learned that I should stop texting and driving," said Irvin Gonzales, student at Burncoat High School in Worcester.

To find out when the Distractology 101 tour is coming to a community near you, visit www.DistractU.com.

About the Arbella Insurance Group and the Arbella Insurance Foundation

Established in 1988, the Arbella Insurance Group (www.arbella.com) is a company with more than $700M in revenue with approximately $1.3B in assets, headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Arbella is a customer-focused regional property and casualty insurance company, providing personal and business insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and business insurance in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Arbella Insurance Group founded the Arbella Insurance Foundation in 2004. The mission of Arbella’s Foundation is to engage in activities and to support not-for-profit organizations that have a significant positive impact on the people and communities served by Arbella.

Release Summary

April of 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Arbella Insurance Foundation’s Distractology 101 tour. Nearly 10,000 teens have completed the anti-distracted driving program to date.

Arbella Insurance Group