Online Auto Insurance: Better Texting Enforcement Could Bring Higher Rates
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Authorities backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in new federal grants will be working toward better methods of enforcing laws banning texting behind the wheel, meaning drivers who have so far dodged detection could get pegged and see higher coverage rates in the future, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).
A recent OAI analysis of quotes from three major insurance carriers looked into how auto insurance premiums are affected when a driver gets a texting ticket.
The analysis found that, at one insurer, a texting ticket would cost a New York driver $58.50 more per year. At the second insurer, the presence of a texting offense meant having to pay an extra $74 annually. A quote from the third insurer showed no difference between a driver with a texting ticket and one without one.
Whether and how much a texting violation could drive up your premiums largely depends on the laws in your state. If it’s classified as a moving violation that will add points to your driving record, insurers will see this and be able to raise rates as a result. In other states, no points are added, so insurers wouldn’t be able to use that information for pricing.
Thirty-nine states currently have laws on the books prohibiting texting behind the wheel. But many texters may be dodging tickets and higher premiums due to enforcement issues, according to some safety officials.
“Texting is done down below the dashboard, so the officer has to actually see them texting and doing it for a period of time,” Chris Cochran, spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), said in an interview with OAI. “They have to be certain that it’s a text before they can pull it over.”
In an effort to promote better enforcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced last week that it is awarding $550,000 in grants to Connecticut and Massachusetts to fund efforts to detect texting while driving. Those programs include application of methods like using spotters on elevated roadways and specialized patrols.
Such specialized enforcement techniques are needed because “it is more challenging to detect a driver texting behind the wheel” than other distracted driving violations, according to the NHTSA.
If you’ve had rates increase because of a texting ticket, click here to find out steps you can take to lower your car insurance premium.
SOURCE Online Auto, LLC