Texting termed to be much more Dangerous than calling while on the Road
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/24/2012 -- The financial website Bankrate.com reports, as states enact new laws against drivers who send or receive text messages while behind the wheel, auto insurance companies are weighing higher premiums for anti-texting law violators and looking for even tougher law and stepped-up enforcement.
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says crashes caused by distracted drivers kill over 3,000 Americans annually. The agency also claims a motorist who sends or receives text messages behind the wheel is 23 times more likely to crash than is a driver who doesn’t text.
As a result, most states and the District of Columbia have enacted bans on driving while texting. Some states limit their bans to certain drivers, such as school bus drivers and persons who have just received their first driver’s licenses.
A vice president with the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute, based in New York City, says texters are likely to see premium increases, noting a “direct correlation between texting and having accidents.” At the same time, the executive notes, an individual’s insurance rate is determined by variety of factors, including the individual’s claims history and number of moving violations.
The industry executive also calls for beefing up current anti-texting laws, with stricter enforcement and more severe penalties, such as license suspension, rather than fines, as some states prescribe. Some states, however, already go further than that. A Utah statute enacted in 2009, for example, classifies drivers who text as “inherently reckless,” just as it does with drunk drivers, and a conviction for texting while driving and causing an accident resulting in a death or serious injury can bring a prison sentence of as much as 15 years.
Some anti-texting laws have drawn criticism for not coming into play unless the driver has first been cited for a separate offense, such as drunk or reckless driving, or speeding. Other states let off first offenders with a mere warning, and not all states even collect data on texting while driving, or lump it into the broader category of distracted driving. A national spokesperson for the Automobile Association of America also notes police departments often fail to keep track of the cause of accidents, or only do so for those involving serious injuries or property damage.
Some argue anti-texting laws may actually be counter-productive, though. A study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, based in Arlington, Virginia, found accident rates had risen in three-quarters of states after they adopted anti-texting laws. A spokesman noted police say texting drivers now increasingly hold their phones low so they can’t be seen from outside the car, and as a result spend less time watching traffic.
KFZ--Versicherung.com (http://www.kfz--versicherung.com/) is a German auto insurance website that helps shoppers analyze a variety of vehicle-related insurance policies, including liability, third-party, and comprehensive coverage. The site’s free online calculators will analyze offerings from dozens of insurers, helping shoppers find a policy giving them the combination of price and coverage they desire.
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