As an insured motorist, you know that your auto insurance company can raise your rates if you do something it does not like. For example, speeding tickets or turning a certain age can make your monthly premiums go up.
Just how much your premiums will rise depends on things your previous driving record and which company you are currently insured by. But you might be surprised to learn that, on average, people caught driving while distracted by their cellphones pay less than those ticketed for seemingly less dangerous mistakes.
How much does a distracted driving ticket affect insurance premiums?
According to information provided by the O.C. Register, in 2019, getting a ticket for using a cellphone while driving increased insurance premiums an average of $226 a year, or less than $20 a month. That might seem like a lot, but a ticket for driving too slowly cost insured drivers an average increase of $345 annually. And insurers charged those caught illegally passing a school bus $386 in extra annual premiums, on average.
There has been some progress in the insurance industry’s assessing the risk of distracted driving. Just two years ago, insurance companies only increased premiums an average of $23 per year. Still, the industry has a ways to go until it seems to fully recognize the chances one of its clients will cause a terrible accident because they were distracted.
A possible solution
Smartphone technology might be a way for auto insurers to discourage distracted driving. Just as some companies now monitor its customers’ cars for signs of speeding, a phone app might be able to detect when a customer’s phone is in use while inside a moving car. Of course, this app would have to be able to tell if the driver is the one using the phone, and if so, if the driver is using a hand to operate the device.
Holding distracted drivers accountable
Ultimately, drivers are responsible for their own behavior. A distracted driver who crashes into somebody and injures them is legally on the hook for the harm they caused. If you were in a crash with a driver you believe was distracted, contact a personal injury attorney and have a conversation about your legal options.