Indiana Texting Ticket Could Result in Higher Insurance Premiums

Texting and driving could cost you. We’re talking about your car insurance.

According to FOX Business, your insurance company is keeping an eye on states that enact texting and driving bans. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you’re close to 25 times more likely to get into a car accident if you’re texting behind the wheel. Insurance companies are using this scare as a reason to increase premiums.
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Our Highland injury lawyers have talked about distracted driving a number of times. It’s no different from talking on a phone or texting behind the wheel — both are dangerous. In the state of Alabama, drivers are allowed to talk on their phone while driving, but they’re prohibited from text messaging behind the wheel. The problem with this is that it’s tough for law enforcement officers to determine if a driver was dialing a number to call (legal) or composing a text message (illegal).

To help find solutions to enforcement challenges, officials with the NHTSA recently sponsored a pilot program, dishing out more than $500,000, to push different enforcement efforts on this dangerous driving behavior in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“While it is relatively easier for law enforcement to determine illegal handheld cell phone use by observing the position of the phone at the driver’s ear, the dangerous practice of texting while driving is often not as obvious,” said David Strickland, Administrator for the NHTSA.

Insurance companies are keeping an eye on what drivers are doing behind the wheel. While these companies aren’t typically first in line to help to compensate you after an accident, they sure are first in line to tack on extra charges for your coverage.

There are more than 3,000 people who are killed each year in an accident with a distracted driver. Unfortunately, officials believe that this number is actually much higher as drivers are not likely to admit when they were distracted during an accident.

Insurance companies already use traffic citations as evidence for hiking up a driver’s rates. Consider a drunk driving charge: Insurance companies are likely to double, even triple, your premium if you are convicted of an alcohol-related driving violation.

Point System in Indiana:

-Two-Point Violations: Exceeding the speed limit (less than 15 mph over the speed limit), not using your headlights and not having your turn signals or brake lights work properly.

-Four-Point Violations: Making illegal U-turns, making unsafe lane movements and exceeding the speed limit (between 16 and 25 mph over).

-Six-Point Violations: Speeding (over 26 mph over the speed limit), tailgating and neglecting to yield or stop.

-Eight-Point Violations: Speed contest on road, neglecting to yield to an emergency vehicle or driving on an extended driver’s license.

An at-fault driver’s record behind the wheel may also become an issue when seeking damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Attorney Burton A. Padove represents accident victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call (219) 836 2200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

U Text and Drive? Expect Higher Car Insurance, by Don Hanzlik, Fox Business
More Blog Entries:

Highland Injury Attorneys & Your Risks of an Autumn Traffic Accident, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, October 30, 2012

Highland School Accidents: National Bus Safety Week 2012!, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, October 20, 2012