First off, do you know what the distracted driving law is in the state of Connecticut? If not, here’s a quick refresher:
- Drivers should not operate a car on a highway while talking on their mobile phone or while their car is in motion
- Drivers under the age of 18 should not use their mobile phone even with a hands-free accessory while driving their car on a highway
- Drivers should not participate in any activity not related to driving a car that jeopardizes with their ability to safely operate their car on a highway
Distracted drivers, if involved in a car accident or fined by the police for driving while distracted, will also see an increase in their car insurance rates. If you are involved in a car accident and you are at fault, your insurance company will cover the damage, but will also raise your car insurance premiums as a result because you have become a risk to them.
The Top Distracted Driving Behavior on Insurance Companies’ Radar
There are three types of distracted driving behavior, and they include:
- Visual – You take your eyes off the road
- Manual – You take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – You take your mind off driving
Using your mobile phone, flipping the radio station, making changes to the navigation system, and listening to music on your headphones are all examples of distracted driving. You may think that it will not take you a lot of time to send a text for instance, but every second counts. Remember, it only takes one second to find yourself involved in a car crash because you looked away from the road and on to your mobile phone.
All these electronic devices, including your mobile phones, affects your visual, manual, and cognitive ability. When you are looking down at your phone to send a text, it affects your visual ability. When you go to pick up your phone, it affects your manual ability. When you are in the middle of reading or sending a text, it affects your cognitive ability.
Other distracted driving behaviors include:
- Moving an object
- Adjusting the devices in the car
- Smoking and actions related to smoking
- Focusing on the events happening outside such as rubbernecking
- Talking to other people in the car
- Using or reaching for a device such as headphones
- Eating and drinking in the car
- Adjusting the controls of the car such as climate controls
If you have a habit of using your mobile phone in the car, you should quit doing so. Instead, pull to the side of the road and then use your mobile phone even if you are just texting someone. By not using your mobile phone while driving, you are preventing a fatal car crash that could result from your distracted driving behavior. If you have a passenger sitting in the car on the front seat, you can ask them to tell you who is calling and either answer the phone or put the ringer on silent until you have parked your car and can use your mobile phone.
A Device to Prevent Distracted Driving
Insurance companies can only increase your car insurance premiums if they have proof in the form of an accident or fine due to you using your phone while driving. BUT! What if there was a way insurance companies could track what you do in your car?
Arity, a company owned by Allstate, is in the middle of developing technology that will use your phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to sense the position of your phone. If you pick it up, the technology will flag their system. This technology can even determine if you have unlocked your phone and the apps you are using it while you are driving your car.
Allstate will begin to use it to determine the car insurance rates it should offer drivers or whether they should decrease or increase the auto insurance premiums of drivers based on their usage of their mobile phone in the car, similar to Progressive’s Snapshot. The manufacturers of the technology also claim that distracted driving costs insurance companies’ 160 percent more than drivers who do not use their mobile phone while driving. With this technology or not, insurance companies have already begun to penalize drivers who use their mobile phone to talk or text while driving.
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