Industry News

Driving Under The Influence or Distracted Driving?

You just got pulled over on your way home from work. You were just trying to check up on a couple of texts that came flooding in, sending your notifications of like crazy, during your evening commute. Clearly something important happened since you left the office. You weren't thinking about your driving however and turns out you were fluctuating in speeds which led the officer to believe you may have been drinking, but then they noticed the cell phone in your hand. You were hit with a hefty fine and luckily no points on your license. However, your insurance company isn’t so pleased with your choice in distracted driving.

When your renewal comes around for your auto insurance, you receive a non-renewal notice due to your driving history. A frustrating situation that could have been avoided. Distracted driving is the cause of many accidents every year. The quick check of a text can cause some serious damage.  

Lets look at the stats: In 2015, 3,718 texting and driving citations were handed out. In 2016, there were 4,293 and in 2017 there were 4,728. As you can see, as the years go on the trend is increasing upwards. The citations weren’t the only thing that changed. Between the years of 2011 and 2015 17% of serious crashes were related to distracted driving. During that same time period, there were an average of seven fatal crashes per year which accounted for 11% of the total fatal crashes in Vermont.

I hope I have thoroughly driven home the severity of distracted driving. It only takes seconds for you to take your eyes off the road and something serious happen. At 70 mph you travel the length of a football field in 3 seconds flat. 

Going back to your non-renewal notice from your insurance company. For some companies, distracted driving can be considered a major driving violation. Very similar to driving under the influence which is also considered a major driving violation. Some companies may even say that distracted driving is just as severe as driving under the influence and when they look at their claims history the data backs them up in many cases. No way around it distracted driving is a rising issue in the insurance space. Increased accidents and claims lead to more money paid out by carriers which in turn leads to higher premiums for consumers. 

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Ways to avoid distracted driving:

  • Use of Bluetooth
    • Hands Free is the way to be
  • Pull over and take a call or send a text if urgent
  • Do Not Disturb
    • Most phones have a DND service that informs senders that the recipient is driving and will get back to them later

Now, distracted driving does not only include cell phone use. Here are a few things that can also cause distracted driving and in turn accidents:

  • Looking for something in your car
  • Your kids… whether they are arguing, crying because they need you, or are just being kids and are wound up having fun
  • Eating and drinking beverages like coffee.
  • Perhaps you dropped something, and you don’t want it to get underneath our pedals, so you are one hand on the wheel one hand underneath the wheel looking for whatever it is you dropped

I think you probably get the point by now. Distracted driving is just not worth it. It’s not worth other lives or your own. Be safe while driving. Be mindful. Take your time and pull over as needed.

All this talk has got me thinking… I should give my agent a call just in case I were to get into an accident, I want to make sure I have all the right coverages in place. If you are looking to do the same, check out the link below.

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