Distraction on the road isn’t an easy topic. There are many causes and few remedies. While the colleges at InsurancePanda.com claim to have found 2-3 cups of coffee a day being such a remedy CarInsuranceCalculator.info handles today other sources of distraction and especially the implication of distracted driving for your monthly auto insurance premium.
Between November 7th and 20th, Delaware police officers issued more than 1,800 drivers with citations for distracted driving. This was part of a campaign entitled ‘Phone in One hand. Ticket in the Other’ and is aimed at discouraging distracted drivers. Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the driver from the task at hand, actually driving.
This can include things such as texting, using a cell phone, eating and/or drinking, talking to other passengers or adjusting a radio. In our culture, it is pretty safe to assume that the majority of people participate in some form of distracted driving every day. Many states and law enforcement agencies have recognized the acceptable level to which distracted driving has risen to and are trying to combat it through prevention and education.
At Distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s main website for distracted driving, three main types of distraction are listed:
- Manual, which requires you to take your hands off the wheel
- Visual, which means taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive, which takes your mind off driving
The examples listed in first paragraph all involve one or more forms of distraction but the main focus of many studies and law enforcement is cell phone use, in particular, texting. Texting uses all three forms of distraction so it is by far the most dangerous type of driving distraction in which someone can participate. According to Distraction.gov, text messaging creates a crash risk 23 x worse than if a driver was not distracted. So while it’s not likely that you will be pulled over for drinking a water bottle, you should use this site to double check your state’s laws so that you are aware of what is and isn’t legal.
Who Are Distracted Drivers?
Well educated, high income American drivers are more likely to experience consequences from distracted driving than their less well-off counterparts. This was information gleaned from a poll conducted by GfK Roper, part of GfK Custom Research North America. Researchers conclude that this is because many people in this bracket have many different things happening in their life that may cause a higher volume of email and phone calls. They might be consistently traveling, causing them to eat in their car more often. In this poll, people were broken into segments after questioning based on certain factual material. When asked if they had swerved out of a traffic lane due to distracted driving, 32 % of the entirety of those polled answered yes, while 41% of well-educated drivers answered yes and 35 % of high income drivers answered yes. Using other questions, researchers found that the results were fairly similar; high income and well educated drivers were more distracted. They were less likely to send a text message. Younger age groups dominated that section of the poll.
Distracted Driving Bans
While not all states have enacted distracted driving legislation or agree that stark bans are the answer, others have made efforts. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 34 states ban texting while driving and nine states ban any type of cell phone use while driving. Ray Lahood, U.S. Transportation Secretary said that his department is gathering information and depending on the outcome, could mean a push for a nationwide ban on cell phone use. Not everyone is convinced this is the most effective way to discourage distracted driving. Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believe that’s overall bans are hard to enforce for police officers and will make drivers hide their cell phone, which could create more safety issues.
New Legislation and Your Auto Insurance
It is important to be aware of any new legislation your state may develop to curb distracted driving and how that will affect you. One way of keeping tabs on this is by visiting Distraction. Gov. With new legislation comes new forms of traffic violations and you need to know what mean to your insurance policy. As we speak, insurance companies are researching statistics to determine how much to increase rates based on various forms of distracted driving, if citations become that focused. But, for now, you can bet that if you get pulled over, your insurance premiums will suffer. It’s already been proven that driving while texting is a high risk action and if this is documented on your driving record, your insurance company has the right to assume that you might do it again and therefore, places you in a higher risk category. The best thing to do is to focus on driving while you are in the car, not your newest email or most recent text. Take advantage of some of the technological advances that will make this easier on you. There are some apps that will disable your phone while your car is moving and others that automatically reply to text messages for you. If you do this, you can help set a precedent for your peers.
Ultimately, legislator crackdown on distracted driving will lead to more affordable car insurance but for now, do your best to stay off your cell phone and always operate your car responsibility and you will not have to worry about rate increases.