Texting while driving leads to higher insurance rates for all - KCTV5

Texting while driving leads to higher insurance rates for all

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File photo. (KCTV5) File photo. (KCTV5)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

We know texting and driving is a deadly epidemic, but new numbers show the impact that distractions behind the wheel have upon our wallets. 

The summer months are known as the 100 deadliest days for teens on the road. State Farm said more than half of drivers admit to using their phone while driving. 

So, KCTV5 News talked to a mother in Kansas City who has been shopping for car insurance for her son.

She said it’s clear that rates aren’t what they used to be. It’s also clear that many drivers on the road have their eyes in the wrong place.

Tammi Hills hopes that her son Dane, from Basehor, Kansas, will be looking at the road and not a phone when he gets behind the wheel in a few months.

“Well there’s a lot of pressure there,” Tammi Hills said. “A lot of it is, of course, you’re concerned with their safety and, you know, how much they love their cell phone.”

Almost all drivers love their cell phones and that’s showing in our insurance rates.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average premium is up 16 percent since 2011 -- going from $798 to $926.

State Farm Insurance Agent Mario Geraldo said their new study could point to one reason why. “Distracted driving is an issue,” he said. “People are actually watching videos on their phones.”

While texting and driving rates are down by a percentage from year to year, it’s not all good news.

State Farm’s recent study found that:

14 percent of people admit to recording video while driving

23 percent of people take pictures

32 percent read email while driving

27 percent respond to emails

22 percent read social media.

19 percent go as far as to update their social media while driving

All are up from year to year.

An accident or at-risk driver can cause some insurance rates to double.

“Now it’s even more so because of the fact that these kids have their cell phones,” Tammi Hills explained. “So, you know, when I started looking at insurance, I mean it’s like I need to sell a kidney to support them having insurance. It’s very expensive.”

Instead of selling a kidney, here’s what State Farm said she could do to lower her insurance rates: Have Dane take a defensive driving course and ask about discounts for students who get good grades.

State Farm did mention that it’s not just cell phones that are driving insurance rates up. The lower cost of gas has more drivers out on the roads, which leads to more accidents. Plus, the cost of fixing newer model cars full of pricey technology contributes to higher rates for coverage. 

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