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Distracted drivers’ insurance rates have jumped 10,000% in the last decade


Distracted driver on cell phone in car driving down road
Image: Unsplash

In recent years, there has been a trend in the increase in insurance premiums and penalties for those who both text and talk on the phone while driving. The Zebra, an insurance search engine, ran a study looking at insurance rates for distracted drivers and found that from 2011 to 2018, the average annual insurance premium for a distracted driving sentence in the United States rose from $2 to $290, which is a massive 9,750% increase.

The Zebra’s 2019 Distracted Driving Report consisted of research on 61 million insurance rates from the company’s 2019 State of Auto Insurance Report. The study measured the rate in every U.S. ZIP code for a 30-year-old single male with a 2014 Honda Accord EX, which is exactly what I have, funnily enough.

The main increase in the premium penalty for distracted driving happened in the last 3 years.  Insurance companies had to justify the rate increase to regulators and by 2016 the companies had enough data and evidence to convince regulators that rate increases were fully justified.

A $24.16 monthly payment ($290 divided by 12 months) on a convicted distracted driver’s might seem lowish for some people but it must be noted that this is just the average and it can be much higher or lower than this depending on where the driver resides. In late 2018, the state average annual distracted driving penalty ranged from $87 to $762 and it went as far as $1,700 in some cities.

The five states that have the highest insurance premium penalties for distracted driving are

  • Michigan ($762)
  • Vermont ($600)
  • California ($510)
  • Montana ($454)
  • Connecticut ($463)

While the five states with the lowest  insurance penalties for distracted driving are

  • Wyoming ($87)
  • New York ($93)
  • Hawaii ($94)
  •  Idaho ($138)
  • Maryland ($167)

The Zebra has also made a comprehensive report on DUI’s and insurance premiums which you can read more about here.

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Murtaza is a Computer Science student who takes immense interest in mobile technology. He believes the future of computing lies in smartphones because ARM architecture will eventually take over. He also loves to tinker with ROMs and kernels keeping up with the latest in smartphones.

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