The Car Insurance Rate Impact for a Distracted Driving Ticket

I’ve written several posts on distracted driving and how dangerous it is for both the driver and everyone else on the road. Related topics I’ve written about include the types of things that contribute to driving in a distracted manner such as phone usage, video billboards, electronic systems in most cars, etc. An article recently appeared in The Dallas Morning News and Bloomberg about a recent study that revealed the average car insurance rate increase resulting from a driver being awarded a ticket for distracted driving.

The study was published by Zebra, a Dallas based startup, and it compared the rate increase resulting from a distracted driving ticket versus the same driver being ticketed for other infractions.

  • The average annual rate increase for being ticketed for driving too slowly is $345
  • Passing a school bus will result in an annual rate increase of $386
  • 80 plus year-old drivers pay an average of 22% more for their car insurance annually
  • 18-year-old drivers will pay up to three times the national average for a year’s worth of car insurance
  • The average rate increase for receiving a ticket for distracted driving is $226
  • Two years ago, the average rate increase for a distracted driving ticket was $23

This amount seems incredibly low when compared to other rate increases for various tickets. There may be a couple of reasons for this including the time it takes for car insurance companies to increase rates in a specific state (a very bureaucratic process), not enough data to determine the correlation between distracted driving tickets as a predictor for future accidents, and the difficulty for law enforcement in “seeing” someone driving distracted.

These reasons may also explain why car insurance companies have been slow to add discounts for such automotive technologies as blind spot warning, automatic braking, lane departure, etc. The cost of distracted driving is too low given what Zebra’s study shows and I only expect it to climb as more car insurance companies identify the risk factors associated between it and car accidents. A small insurance company in Ohio, Root, is already doing this and I expect other companies to follow.

The best offense is a good defense and that means putting the phone down until you get to your destination. What do you think? Share your questions, comments, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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