Recently the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) implemented a study on texting — a study that car insurance companies are using to get a better understanding of the issue surrounding people driving while texting and how it may affect the industry. The study involved cars, light trucks and truck drivers — each using cell phones while operating a vehicle on a roadway. The results of the study basically reveal that drivers who engage in texting while behind the wheel have a collision rate that is 23 times higher than when those who do not. That collision rate is significantly higher than initial data led anyone to believe. This information proves that there is diminished control when driving while texting.
The data from combined studies are reporting that 71 percent of traffic accidents involve people driving while engaged in non-driving tasks, or driving in a distracted state. Obviously this puts drivers who exhibit this behavior at a higher risk to be in an accident. Car insurance rates are based on risks, so agencies are using these sorts of studies to determine whether or not they can increase the insurance rates for those caught driving while distracted. With the number of studies being conducted on this subject, the car insurance industry as a whole will likely better understand how to proportion the increases soon. These increases for some states and drivers are inevitable.
Driving while texting, has car insurance carriers, examining their coverage. Until states define the laws concerning texting while driving, the impact the issue will have on car insurance rates is unknown. If there is no law against texting, then the driver cannot be charged for that infraction. The recent accidents, involving a train driver who caused an accident while texting and a bus driver, that also had an accident while texting, caused major problems for their communities. Many families were impacted because of the accidents, lives were lost or injuries that crippled several passengers. Incidents like these are making people aware of the risks associated with distracted driving.
Based on the evidence, several states are beginning to implement laws prohibiting texting, or the use of cell phones in general, while driving. In fact, 14 states have done so, including California. A few states are starting the legislative process to do so, while others are not interested nor are they motivated to write new laws at this time for the infraction. Many states are not waiting on more studies, they have moved forward to enact laws that ban driving while texting.
It is a good thing that the population is realizing the risks they are not only putting themselves, but other people, at when they choose to text and drive.