December 31, 2009

Texting While Driving Ban To Lower Auto Insurance Rates Has Strong Citizen Support

Texting while driving is unquestionably of the most dangerous habits that drivers have today. Texting, as opposed to flipping through radio stations or even talking on a cell phone, requires much more of a driver’s attention. That’s because texting requires one to look at the phone/key pad while writing the message, thus causing drivers to take their eyes, and minds, off what’s happening on the road for extended periods of time. This hazardous practice has been compared to drunk driving in many cases. For this reason, there has been strong citizen support of a ban on texting while driving. According to a survey done by the New York Times, 50 percent of survey participants said that the punishment for texting while driving should be just as severe as the punishments for driving while intoxicated.

What does this mean for notorious texters? A texting ban would likely be very similar to the cell phone ban that has been put into effect in various states. A texting ban would require a law be passed that would make it so that anyone caught texting while driving would be fined. Additionally, if the texting resulted in an accident, the penalties would be very severe, likely including an increase in the texter’s auto insurance premiums and large fines. An auto insurance company determines a driver’s insurance rate by looking at their past claims to measure their driving risk. If a the potential policyholder’s driving record indicates accidents caused by texting, an insurance company will see this as a red flag and require the driver to pay high premiums to be insured. Several states have already taken action in this epidemic of distracted driving. California, for example, prohibits any type of cell phone use while driving. A total of 18 states have taken similar action.

Accidents caused by distracted drivers are on the constant rise. The fact that 97 percent of individuals polled by The New York Times support this ban says a lot about the severity of this problem. It is not often that there is such strong support for an issue that suggests taking away a person’s right to do a specific task. However, people are realizing what a serious safety concern texting while driving has become. Unfortunately, while people recognize this fact, there is question whether drivers would actually follow the law. In the same poll, only 42 percent of people believed drivers would stop texting.

So, the next time you are tempted to text and drive, remember the severe financial repercussions you could be facing. Is a substantially increased auto insurance premium worth it? Likely not. Be safe and responsible, don’t text and drive.