That Texting-While-Driving Ticket Will Likely Increase Your Insurance Premium
One of the main reasons that car insurance rates are going up is the increase in distracted driving, which has led to a significant jump in vehicular deaths and accidents in the last five years.
Despite most states in the country now having laws barring the use of your phone for talking or other tasks such as messaging or taking pictures, accidents from distracted driving continue mounting.
So, what if you are one of the ones who gets a ticket for distracted driving? Be prepared for a significant increase in your insurance, according to the “2019 Distracted Driving Report” by The Zebra, an insurance rate comparison website.
According to the report, in 2011, a ticket for distracted driving (texting or using your cell phone while driving) would have raised the average driver’s car insurance rate by 0.2%, costing them less than $3 per year in added premium. Now, the same violation will raise rates by an average of 19.7% (about $290) – a penalty increase of 9,750% in just eight years.
This is on top of the insurance rate increases you already have been seeing even if you have not been cited for distracted driving. And it’s no wonder. Consider the following:
Nine people are killed per day due to distracted driving accidents in the United States – or about 3,500 people per year.
- Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were “distraction-affected” crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Fines for distracted driving range among all states from $50 to $500.
- The annual economic impact of distracted driving accidents and deaths is $40 billion.
- 48 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting texting while driving.
- 20 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting phone use while driving.
In 2019 Arizona became the 48th state to ban texting while driving for all drivers and 20th state to outlaw handheld phone use while driving, with a few exemptions for emergency situations. The handheld use law will have a warning period until Jan. 1, 2021, after which it will take full effect.
Arizona’s legislature and governor were under increasing pressure to do so, as many local jurisdictions had passed their own bans. Yavapai County had outlawed manual use of phones by drivers in unincorporated areas in October 2018, followed by Chino Valley in November and Prescott Valley in December.
All the local laws are superseded by the state’s new no-texting law, and will be by its handheld use ban once it takes full effect in 2021. Phone use through hands-free devices is permitted.
Ticketed for distracted driving
If you get a distracted driving ticket, you will likely be hit with a surcharge on your auto insurance premium. The amount will depend on your insurance company, and the increase of $290 cited above is an average across all states and insurance companies. So, what you are surcharged could well be more than that amount.
Also, if you are ticketed, the surcharge will likely stay on your policy for three years after the infraction, which means you’ll be paying for your mistake for many years.
And, if you are ticketed a second time for the same offense, the surcharge will likely be higher.
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