Remember the first few days when you had just learned to drive? Every time you put your foot on the gas, your eyes were peeled, the steering wheel gripped tightly, and you calculated every possible way to drive your car as safely as possible.
Fast forward to maybe a year or two, and now you are doing three things at once while driving. With confidence comes the costly tickets that you might get for distracted driving and it could have so many effects on your life, besides the possibility of an accident.
Distracted driving is the practice of driving without paying much attention to the road. It usually starts happening when your driving skills start becoming autonomous. At first, you need to put a lot of effort into driving, but with practice, it becomes easier. And this is where people start driving carelessly.
Distracted driving is a very broad term, and so many different activities can come under this giant umbrella. It also depends on what state you are in, as each state’s definition of distracted driving can vary.
By loose definition, distracted driving is when you are driving a car and at the same time, doing anything that might take away your attention from the roads. Even the slightest distraction can be considered.
What Includes Distracted Driving?
Here’s a shortlist of everything you do while driving that could potentially be included in distracted driving.
- Talking on the phone
- Using the car’s infotainment display
- Eating or drinking
- Watching your phone or anything else other than the road
- Talking to passengers
- Watch the backseat
- Recording video using your hands
So any activity that could get your attention off the roads will be considered distracted driving. Now that we know what distracted driving is, let’s look at how it affects your insurance.
How Distracted Driving Affects Your Auto Insurance?
So you managed to look for the best auto insurance and are very happy with it. But even if you get one of the cheapest insurances available, you still might end up paying a lot more. How? By just using your phone or talking while driving. Distracted driving has a very strong impact on your insurance prices.
A study conducted by The Zebra revealed that on average, distracted driving can increase the price of your auto insurance by 16%. While 16% does not sound that much, is it worth it just texting or talking on the phone? But that’s not all.
Depending on the state you are in, the percentage increase in the premium prices for auto insurance can vary, but all of them will tank your bank. Vermont comes first with an increase of 41% in insurance prices after a ticket for distracted driving, followed by Connecticut with 35%, and Oregon at third with 31%.
It is important to understand that the number of instances of distracted driving, driving under the influence, traffic violations, etc will impact the increase in insurance prices. States, where these violations are rampant, will make insurance companies charge more as people are more likely to do such traffic violations.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
There’s no fixed amount of fine that you’ll have to incur for distracted driving, but there’s a ballpark figure. So instead of talking rainbows and sugar, let’s look at some horrifying numbers (which could become your case) for distracted driving.
For the first offense, you can get your driving license suspended for three days and a fine that could go over $500, that too outside the court. You also get three demerit points, which works like insult to injury.
The second time you are caught for distracted driving within the same month, you’ll get a driving license suspension of seven days, with a fine of over $600 outside the court and you get six demerit points.
The third conviction within the same month can result in a suspension of your driving license for over thirty days and a fine of over $1000 outside court. This conviction will also lead to six demerit points.
The amount of fine, the driving license suspension period, and other charges can vary from state to state. Some states prefer giving just a slap on the wrist and a small fine, while others take it as a very serious violation. Whatever state you are in, it is better to avoid distracted driving and keep your auto insurance rates low.
Dangers and Prevention
Distracted driving can not only increase your insurance and premium rates, but it also creates the risk of you getting into a serious accident. There are thousands of accidents that kill people all due to distracted driving. Years ago, a man was fined for eating a burger while driving his car.
While this sounds unnecessary, doing a seemingly simple task while driving can be the reason for a big and ugly accident. So how do you prevent such accidents and most importantly, distracted driving?
The first and most important way to prevent distracted driving is by always keeping your attention on the road and not inside the vehicle. No matter how skilled a driver you are, there is always a chance of something happening that you cannot control. So be always present on the road, and do not take a mental backseat while driving.
The second thing to consider is stopping all your phone’s activity, which includes talking, texting, etc. There are steering-mounted controls to control the basic functions of the car. Most cars now come with voice control, which makes changing songs less distracting.
Follow all these steps and keep your attention on the road. This seemingly simple and basic practice can save lives, and save your money on auto insurance.