Brooks, Todd & McNeil Agency Blog

Distracted Driving is Driving Up Insurance Costs

The rise in distracted driving related accidents has driven up the cost of auto insurance premiums. Distracted driving is now a leading cause of auto accidents nationwide. This means that other drivers who are failing to pay attention while behind the wheel may be costing you money.

It may come as no surprise that if you are caught texting and driving, you may face a fine and possibly even an increase in your auto insurance rates. If you are someone who is prone to distractions while driving there are tools out there to help you become a safer driver.

What constitutes “distracted driving”?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Each state makes its own laws regarding penalties for distracted driving. It is important to know the laws in your state and pay attention to changing laws as many states continue to address this growing problem.

What tools may help reduce the incidence of distracted driving?

Insurance companies are trying to address the culture of distracted driving and the escalating costs associated with it. Several insurance companies have started programs where drivers install tracking devices in their cars and receive discounts for practicing safe driving. This is of course a voluntary program, but one that could save you money.

Other tools come right from your smartphone. For example, Apple has released its new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. When turned on, this feature responds to any incoming texts informing the person trying to reach you that you are driving and to call if it is important otherwise you will respond when you have stopped driving.

There are also multiple apps on the market that can be downloaded to lock your phone when you are driving. Others can capture information about your family’s driving habits.

How much are distracted drivers costing me?

The increase in claims from accidents ultimately leads to an overall increase in insurance premiums for everyone as insurance companies raise rates to cover higher cost trends. While a distracted driving related accident could lead to a significant increase in your premium, the culture of distracted driving has left its mark on everyone. According to The Zebra, an insurance comparison website, the national average cost of auto insurance is $1,427, a 20 percent increase from 2011. Unfortunately, distracted driving related accidents are a significant contributor to these alarming trends in rising automobile insurance costs.

If you have questions about tools to help keep you and your family safe from distracted driving, be sure to contact a Brooks, Todd & McNeil agent. It is also always a good idea to shop around for better rates and coverage so be sure to ask an agent if you currently have the best policy for your needs.

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