Talking on a mobile phone, texting, checking a location on a map, and eating distracts motorists.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to find out that distracted drivers are extremely commonplace on the road. Some are talking on their mobile phones. Others send texts. Some fuss with their coffee cups or drive-thru meals. Others are turned around to shout at their misbehaving children in the back seat.
Whether you’re surfing through radio stations or choosing your GPS locations, you may pay more.
Those distracted drivers may or may not realize that their habits are costing them a great deal more in auto insurance premiums. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data says 3,477 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. Another 391,000 people were injured in those types of crashes in 2015. That is the most recent year for distracted driving statistics.
Motorists caught driving while distracted will often receive a ticket with a sizeable fine. That said, what they don’t realize is that this type of ticket leads to an average insurance increase of 16 percent. Across the country, that means that distracted drivers pay an average of $226 more per year. This, according to an auto insurance study conducted by The Zebra.
Distracted drivers face an ever-increasing cost associated with their unsafe habits.
While an additional $226 per year may not sound too painful, that number is only going to rise. In 2011, carriers penalized motorists caught distracted driving (specifically, talking on a phone while behind the wheel) with a 0.2 percent rate increase. That penalty has increased 7,944 percent since that time.
This insurance rate penalty isn’t the only reason those drivers pay more. Auto insurance premiums have risen by a national average of 20 percent since 2011. Therefore, not only is the percentage of the penalty going up, but it’s being applied to an ever-more costly car insurance premium.
When a higher percentage is applied to a higher figure, the distracted drivers end up paying even more. That figure only worsens when the motorist lives in a state where the auto insurance premiums are particularly high, such as Michigan.