Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Car insurance rates can increase due to texting tickets. However, the amount all depends on the state in which you reside. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association 39 states in America ban texting and driving.

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The 11 states that currently allow texting and driving include Arizona, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Hawaii, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, and South Carolina. Nonetheless, most have distracted driving laws and ordinances.

The National Conference of State Legislatures shows Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and New Mexico have limited bans. Their anti-texting law applies only to drivers under the age of 21.

They may not have a total ban in place for all drivers, but they highly discourage these actions especially for the inexperienced. Another important note is three states, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi ban school bus drivers from texting and driving.

In addition, while the District of Columbia is a district and not a state, they too comply with the other 39. The Virgin Islands and Guam also uphold this law. They enforce this statute as a primary offense. This means that if you violate the law, you receive a citation similar to other moving violations.

The main reason why car insurance rates increase is due to negative actions on the part of the driver. When you fail to adhere to the rules of the road, you place others at risk. Consistent texting while operating a motor vehicle removes the driver’s focus.

Distracted Driving is a Huge Factor in Collisions

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that 16% of the fatal collisions and 21% of vehicle-related injuries were the result of distracted drivers in 2008. This equals almost 6,000 fatalities and over 500,000 drivers or passengers wounded. The fact that a distracted driver contributes to such high statistics is unsettling.

This is why the majority of car insurance companies base their rates on risk factors. If you have any type of accident and texting is the main cause, your rates will likely increase. This type of ticket you receive easily justifies the increase. Should your driving record continue to decline, you stand a fair chance of higher car insurance or eventual cancellation.

Most experienced drivers agree with these decisions because of the amount of damage inflicted to others. It does not matter if it is personal or property, everyone involved suffers needlessly.

In addition to being unnecessary and unacceptable to law enforcement personnel, the car insurance industry also frowns on anyone who chooses to disobey these laws. They view this type of behavior as irresponsible and violators receive just punishment.

While cell phone use is understandable only under extreme circumstances, texting while driving is never something they condone. It is imperative that you not only comply with these laws, but also understand the importance of changing bad habits.

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Your Driving Record and How Car Insurance Rates Increase

When you first apply for car insurance, the provider you select reviews your personal data. Part of this includes your driving record. They look for anything they deem risky, like excessive tickets. They also investigate the reason for the tickets and their point value.

This also occurs during your renewal period. Your current car insurance provider completes a standard reevaluation of your driving history.

If, over a period of six to 12 months, you receive a moving violation then your insurance rates may go up.

Your state Motor Vehicle Commission decides on the number of points you receive for a moving violation. For example, if you reside in North Carolina, you receive 12 points for a DWI or hit and run ticket. This also applies to texting while driving. Texting tickets are moving violations. You can receive anywhere from one to 12 points.

However, there is always a contributing factor to these numbers. This is because most times, a law enforcement officer cannot judge if you commit a texting-while driving offense. They generally conclude your distraction results from texting and driving. Once they assess the situation, they have the ability to decide if your collision or other transgression occurred because of texting.

This means, depending on your primary offense, like driving on the wrong side of the road or illegal passing, you may receive a substantial number of points. Although 12 points is the highest amount, any number increases your odds of seeing a higher car insurance premium.

How Points Dictate Car Insurance Increases

Since texting tickets can cause car insurance rate increases it is vital for you to know where you stand. The standard rule of thumb for every point you receive equals a percentage increase. For instance, if your texting ticket causes property damage of less than $1,800, you receive one point on your driver’s license. Your car insurance company can raise your rates by up to 30%.

Using a base model number of $300 per year means your new annual premium is $390. If the violation is a bit more serious, like following too closely or driving on the wrong side of the road, the point value increases to two. Your car insurance rates change by 45%, or $435. Just by texting and driving, you can see how your costs jump as much as $135 per year.

A more severe infraction, such as reckless driving adds four points. Instead of paying $300 every year, your car insurance carrier can hike up your rates by an incredible 80%. You now face an auto insurance rate of $540 annually.

It is important to note that points on your license can accumulate.

Every time you receive a citation for texting while driving, you stand to add points on your driver’s license. Your state can retain these points for a minimum of three years. This means your car insurance rates can remain high for a long time.

Of course, there are ways for you to reduce these points. You can take classes offered by the Motor Vehicle Commission and present your documents to your car insurance provider. However, the damage is already done and they may still judge your previous behavior. It is not worth taking this type of gamble. You will ultimately lose money by paying higher premiums and paying for the course.

The easy solution is to refrain from committing the crime. If you must respond to a text message, pull over and park your vehicle. Do not take unnecessary risks that jeopardize you and others on the road.

Major Offenders

Unfortunately, the major offenders who receive texting tickets are teen drivers. This is ironic because this demographic also receives the highest premiums for car insurance as well. It is also very sobering because of the statistics showing texting virtually cuts reaction time in half.

When you combine inexperience with a decreased ability to act in response to a dangerous object or situation, the results are quite grim. In addition to the slower reaction, one hand is on the telephone and not on the wheel. This is also a disastrous move for a new driver.

In a recent poll conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 46% of teen drivers stated they text while operating a motor vehicle. The majority know it is against the laws of their state.

Receiving and sending text messages requires about 4.6 seconds of undivided attention. This is the same as driving 55 miles per hour down a football field, blindfolded. Even the most experienced driver would never attempt something this reckless, but teens do this every day.

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The Number of Texting Tickets in 2011

While it is difficult to detect the exact number across the nation, the state of New York admitted to over 5,000 tickets for driving while texting during 2011. If you multiply this number by 39, which is the number of states with bans this is the equivalent of 195,000 texting tickets.

Now consider the number of adjoining moving violations resulting from this type of distracted driving. It is very possible that texting while driving has the same impact as someone driving while impaired. The symptoms are similar. The focus drops and brain activity slows. It is impossible to read or send a text message without taking your eyes off the road ahead.

For these reasons and many more, stricter laws are forthcoming. For the states that already have bans in place this could mean pricier tickets and extra points. The remaining states that do not have driving while texting laws in place could make this a reality very soon and suddenly it is a national offense.

Working Together to Reduce the Statistics

Tracking the number of texting tickets shows how these violations increase each year. Awareness groups form daily around the country to keep everyone informed of the seriousness of these matters. Now, it is time to work together to help reduce these occurrences. Parents can start by talking with their teen drivers.

Many car insurance companies sponsor programs where teens can take a pledge and make a commitment to drive without distractions. Young adults can become advocates for texting while driving laws by setting the proper examples for their peers.

Educators in all levels can also participate. Good habits begin early so even young children can learn about the importance of texting and driving. They can discuss these issues with their siblings and parents as a way to stay focused on the problem.

Employers can also encourage distracted drivers to cease immediately. This begins by creating a policy within the workplace. It makes great sense to show how you care for your employees.

Safety should be a priority for everyone and this is how it starts. If everyone chooses to act responsibly, the statistics will show a reversal of the current trend. Not only will fewer accidents occur, but also car insurance rates can decline and savings increase.

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