More and more people are getting into fatal accidents because of texting and driving. Despite multiple awareness programs in the news and relevant media on the dangers of texting while driving, many people still do it. In fact, it is estimated that 25 percent of all accidents are caused by people who were texting while driving, while about 330,000 individuals sustain varying degrees of injuries because of the same action.
Texting while driving is also categorized as distracted driving and can be quite dangerous as evidenced from the 3,179 deaths and about 430,000 injuries caused by distracted driving in 2014.
It takes a minimum time of 5 seconds to look at your phone and read a message. While this may not seem like much, the fact is if you are driving at 55 mph, it means that you’d have driven the length of a football field without keeping your eyes on the road. As you probably know, it takes just a split second of inattention to get in an accident on the road. So, taking your eyes off the road for just 1 second is bad enough.
Anything can happen; from hitting someone legitimately using the zebra crossing at a red light to getting into a collision with an oncoming vehicle, there are just too many possibilities. Now, when you decide to not just read text, but reply, it increases the odds of getting in a crash 23 times more likely.
As a result, certain states have started enforcing measures to deter the use of cellphones in general while driving. These measures are in the forms of fines, tickets, citations, points added to your license and even misdemeanors. In fact, 46 states including the District of Columbia have completely banned texting while driving and imposed steep fines for offenders.
The severity of the penalties, however, depends on the state or city in question. For instance, there’s a standard $20 fine for first offenders in California. Repeat offenders, get to pay $50 and upwards with a clear notice of the violation on your driving record. The state of New York on the other hand fines first offenders between $50 and $200 plus an extra $93 fee. Repeat offenders pay anything from $250 to $450. Even worse is that you get five driver violation points on your record. People who accrue up to eleven points get to have their driving licenses suspended.
Alaska by far, imposes the steepest fines and penalties. Texting while driving is considered a misdemeanor and can attract a fine of up to $10,000 as well as a year in prison. Offenders who cause injury to people because they were texting and driving will pay a $50,000 fine go to jail for five years.
There are just five states that haven’t yet made texting while driving a primary offense. One of these states is Florida. But, this may not last long going by the efforts of lawmakers. As at Dec, 2015, lawmakers have started clamoring to make texting while driving a primary offense in the state. This means that once passed, law enforcement agents can pull over anyone caught texting while driving, and write them a citation, book them and even arrest them depending on the severity of their offense and the outcome of their actions.
Texting While Driving and Your Insurance
Generally, the more infractions you have, the higher your chances of having your driver’s license suspended. Even more is the fact that it can affect your ability to get insurance without paying steep monthly premiums.
Now, all states have different laws when it comes to insurance and penalties related to driving and texting. So, you will have to check with your state’s laws to get a clear definition on how it can affect your insurance rates.
Insurance companies will most likely quote higher premium rates because they consider you a high-risk individual if you’ve had one or more tickets courtesy of your texting and driving habits. Every insurance provider has a rate calculating system that will determine how much you get to pay on your auto insurance every year.
For more information, get in touch with Insurance Land to get a more precise evaluation if you have been written up in the past.