Texting & Driving: Why Your Phone Can Wait Pt. 2 - Capstone Brokerage

By: Kathleen Murray, Capstone Brokerage Claim Advocate, September 11th, 2018

Accidents become 23x more likely to happen when driving while texting.  At any given moment over 800,000 drivers are on their cell phones.  When you choose to text and drive, you’re threatening every single driver around you and placing more value on that text message than yourself and the drivers around you.  Not only are you putting the lives of you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk, you are opening yourself up to the potential of breaking the law, the raising of your insurance premium, and costly legal fees if you are at fault for an accident.

It’s the Law

Every year in the United States, almost a half million people are injured or killed in traffic accidents attributed to the combination of texting and driving or distracted driving.  These statistics are becoming so prevalent, state and federal law makers are taking this problem into their own hands.  In 43 states and Washington D.C., it is illegal to text while driving.  Most of these states impose the same laws on any use of a cell phone while driving.  This includes talking on a hand held device as well as using a phone for mapping purposes.  Some states pose maximum penalties as high as $10,000 for the use of a handheld device while driving as well as prison time and license suspension.  The Federal Government also passed legislation prohibiting their employees who are driving government equipment or driving on government business from texting while driving.  As of January 1, 2012, fines of up to $250 can be imposed for any driver using a handheld phone or similar device to talk, read, or type, per the Nevada Department of Transportation

Texting & Driving is About to Cost You Even More

Your insurance rates can sky rocket if you are found texting and driving.  Not only will your insurance premiums increase if you receive a traffic violation or cause an accident for phone usage, insurance companies such as Allstate are preparing to introduce technology that could cost you for using your phone while driving.  This technology works by using your smartphone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to sense whether the device is being used while a car is in motion.  Such technology can also detect if the phone is unlocked and if apps are in use.  While this may spell disaster for drivers who in constant need of using their phone while operating their vehicle, this may help safe drivers save large amounts of money in the coming years for their safe driving practices.

A Legal Nightmare

The Society for Risk Analysis reports that people who text and drive are six times more likely to be involved in a car accident.  Those at fault for car accidents, especially accidents that end as totaled vehicles and serious injury could be looking at years of litigation along with legal fees and potential civil restitution. Not only will it cost for a lawyer to defend you, the injured party can seek compensatory damages for any injuries they suffered due to your neglect as well as recover money for any expenses they may have incurred due to the accident.  Punitive damages, i.e. jail, probation etc., may be added as well.  Drivers responsible for such incidents should not count on the court’s leniency in these circumstances and should be prepared for tough sentences, which can include lengthy jail time in severe cases.

The Highest Price

It truly cannot be repeated enough times that distracted driving puts you at a much higher risk of death and the death of the drivers around you.  According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, 9 people in the United States are killed as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver.  And as we move farther into the future with more technology at our fingertips than ever before, texting is becoming just one of the many things our phone can give us to provide a distraction.  Next time you go to grab your phone while driving, think about all the lives you are taking into your hands, including your own, and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.



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