What to Know About Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Your Insurance Policy

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we wanted to spend a bit of time today discussing distracted driving, its dangers and its effects.

Here’s an overview of what you should know, and if you’re thinking of securing life insurance in 47112 to protect yourself and your family, reach out to Harvey Sarles Insurance Agency today.

A widespread issue

Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors, right up there with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The proliferation of mobile devices, particularly smartphones, has led to an epidemic of sorts with regard to distracted driving. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers each year, and thousands are killed, according to the yearly data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While other types of poor and dangerous driving behaviors have been around since the dawn of motor vehicles (speeding, alcohol consumption and driving, failure to obey traffic signals, failure to yield), distracted driving is a relatively new dangerous behavior, at least to its current extent. While there have always been potential distractions for drivers, only relatively recently has nearly every single driver on the road had a smartphone in their pocket, in their purse or on the seat or console next to them.

Effects on insurance

If you cause an accident while distracted, you can bet there will be some significant effects on your premiums. Depending on the state in which you live, you might see your annual premiums soar by hundreds of dollars if you’re found to have been distracted while driving.

It’s expected that these premium penalties will only continue to grow, especially if the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers continues to increase, driving up injuries and fatalities.

There are already those who claim driving while distracted is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, and the effects of a DUI on insurance rates are significant. You might see your insurance premiums go up by over a thousand dollars after a DUI, significantly more than if you are caught driving while distracted. If the research continues to point to driving while distracted being just as dangerous, it stands to reason that the penalties for distracted driving will only grow more severe over time.

Where penalties are the stiffest

Every state sets its own rules for distracted driving penalties on insurance premiums. Here are the 10 states that are the toughest on distracted drivers, and the percentages by which premiums in those states will rise upon a distracted driving citation.

  • Vermont (41 percent)
  • Connecticut (34 percent)
  • Oregon (31 percent)
  • Mississippi (31 percent)
  • Tennessee (29 percent)
  • Arizona (28 percent)
  • Michigan (26 percent)
  • Maine (25 percent)
  • Ohio (25 percent)
  • New Jersey (24 percent)

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident caused by a negligent, distracted driver, it is important that you take the proper steps to recover money from your losses. This includes filing a claim with your insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance provider. It’s also important to have a life insurance policy that protects your loved ones. For more information about how to proceed, contact Harvey Sarles Insurance Agency in 47112.

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