With improved design and technology, there’s no doubt that cars are becoming safer. So, if the cars themselves are safer, why do auto insurance rates keep rising? One of the most common causes of accidents is distracted driving. And, leading the top of the distracted driving list is phone usage.
By the Numbers
Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA also reports that young people are disproportionately the cause of fatal crashes, saying that 10% of fifteen to nineteen-year-old drivers who were involved in fatal accidents were distracted from driving.
Anything that diverts the driver’s attention away from the wheel and safe driving is distracted driving. Taking a phone call, texting, focusing on passengers, adjusting the stereo or navigation system, eating, drinking or grooming while driving are all examples of distracted driving and can lead to accidents.
More Accidents, Higher Costs
And the more accidents there are, the more the insurance companies have to pay out. That added cost is handed down to the consumer. Some studies attribute increased smartphone usage while driving to an increase in accidents and a major reason for the rising rates.
There are other reasons for the increased number of accidents. First, there are just more people on the road, leading to congestion and inevitably more accidents. In addition, when an accident does occur it costs a lot more to settle it than in the past.
Also, all the new safety and entertainment technology in new cars means they are much costlier to fix after an accident than in the old days. The materials used to make newer cars are also different than they used to be and often cannot withstand impact the way an old-fashioned steel bumper used to.
And traffic accidents inevitably lead to medical bills and lawsuits. These are two areas of the economy that have seen their own enormous rise in costs, which are now reflected in your auto insurance rates.
Are There Any Solutions?
Don’t be part of the problem. Pay attention on the road. Your technology may begin to help you too. Apple’s IOS 11 includes a feature that will put your phone in do not disturb mode when it senses that you are driving. Other phone manufacturers are sure to follow suit. Also, some states have instituted laws restricting cell phone use while driving, especially for teens.
But, it’s still a personal choice that you must make. With fewer distracted drivers causing fewer accidents, there will be fewer costs for insurers, and logically, fewer rate hikes for you.
If you think your auto insurance is too high, it might be time to get a quote. Use the InsuranceWins fast and easy form to find your savings now.