Effect Of Texting-While-Driving Citations On Auto Insurance Rates

While it makes sense that an increase in motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers using texting devices might impact insurance rates, whether a texting-while-driving violation will raise the auto insurance premiums you pay depends on the state in which you reside. In some states, you don't have to be involved in an auto accident while texting to see your insurance rates increase. Getting a citation is enough. It comes down to risk assessment and someone having to pay for the losses that these kinds of accidents incur.

How Different States Handle Texting While Driving

State laws differ in how they classify texting-while-driving tickets. You could receive a ticket for a:

  1. Moving violation. A moving violation can add points to your driving record. If you tally up too many points, you risk losing your driver's license for a time. In some states, a police officer can stop your vehicle and give you a ticket if he or she sees you texting while driving even if you aren't committing another traffic violation at the time.

    Along with getting a ticket, your auto insurer may increase your insurance rates. How much your premiums will go up is based on how many points and violations you already have on your driving record as well the number of claims you've filed in the past.

  2. Non-moving violation. Although a non-moving violation won't add points to your driving record, you likely will have to pay penalties and fines. Depending on your insurer, you may not see your auto insurance rates go up, but you could.

Even if you live in a state where the law bans auto insurers from raising your car insurance rate if you receive a ticket for texting while you are driving, it's still a dangerous thing to do. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving, which includes texting, increases the risk of being involved in an auto accident.

If you text while driving, not only can you cause property damage if you are in an accident, but you put yourself, other drivers on the road, passengers in vehicles, and pedestrians crossing the roadway at risk. In some states, if you cause an accident that injures or kills someone and the law finds you guilty of texting while driving, you could even find yourself serving a prison sentence.

Texting a Distraction While Driving

Texting with a handheld texting device presents a safety issue since it:

  1. Requires you to take your eyes off the roadway.

  2. Involves taking one hand off the steering wheel. Driving with only one hand can make it harder to keep your vehicle under control, especially if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you must react quickly.

  3. Diverts your mental attention. When you are thinking about the text message you are sending or receiving, you aren't concentrating on the roadway.

Safe driving requires paying attention to your driving. That means being aware of what's in front of you and of the traffic traveling beside and behind you. You need to be prepared for a sudden or unexpected event that can happen at any time.

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