Report: Car Insurance Penalties for Distracted Driving Up Nearly Eighty Times Since 2011

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The Zebra, a Texas-based car insurance search engine, today released its 2018 Distracted Driving Report, which shows a recent sharp rise in penalties for distracted driving. In Michigan, penalties can be $681 annually, while in Detroit, the penalty nears $2,000.

Nationally, in 2011, a ticket for texting or using a cell phone while driving would raise drivers’ car insurance rates by 0.2 percent, or less than $3, annually. Today, a distracted driving violation will cause rates to rise 16 percent, or about $226 per year.

“Speeding, drinking and driving, disobeying traffic signals – those violations have (unfortunately) been around since the advent of automobiles,” says Alyssa Connolly, director of market insights at The Zebra. “Distracted driving is really the only new dangerous behavior to affect your driving record. The insurance industry and regulators have to ensure any rate changes they make are justified, so even though cell phones aren’t new to you and me, the risks and dangers they pose for drivers have only recently been substantiated – and now distracted drivers are really seeing the effects on their premiums.”

Insurers in 10 states raised rates for distracted driving violations as recently as six years ago, but today, insurers in every state penalize distracted driving. However, the penalties vary by state.

Michigan had the seventh-highest rate increases with a 26 percent increase. Vermont had the highest increase at 41 percent, bringing its penalty price to $425. Connecticut came in second place with a 34 percent increase, and Oregon was third with a 31 percent increase. New York had the lowest increase at 0.16 percent. Minnesota and Georgia followed, with 2.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

However, distracted driving still does not cost the most. The penalty for driving under the influence is 383 percent higher than the penalty for distracted driving. Other violations that receive harsher penalties than distracted driving include driving too slowly, making an illegal turn, and passing a school bus.

Penalties for distracted driving are expected to increase, according to The Zebra.

Click here for the full report.

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