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Texting While Driving: A Costly Mistake

2013-06-24
By: Advocate Brokerage

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Photo credit: Ed Brown

Texting while driving is not only incredibly dangerous to yourself and others, but it could end up costing you:

  • $10,000 dollars in fines (in Alaska) even if you don’t cause an accident,
  • raise your insurance rates by around 10 percent,
  • and land you in jail in some states for 90 days to a year.

According to information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 39 states have banned texting while driving citing the very real danger it causes — the risk of getting into a crash is a whopping 23 times higher if you’re texting behind the wheel. One study found that the average length of time drivers took to read or write a text message was 4.6 seconds. Going 55 mph, that is the equivalent to driving the entire length of a football field completely blindfolded — not the safest or most prudent decision!

Based on data from the U.S. Department of transportation’s Fatality Analysis Report, in 2011 alone 3,331 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted driving.  Ninety-six percent of people believe that texting while driving is dangerous. And yet, according to a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one third of drivers admitted to having read or written a text while driving in the past month.

Banning texting has not had the hoped for effect either — in four states that have enacted the ban, insurance claims filed for crashes that involved texting actually increased after the ban was put into effect. Experts believe this is because drivers — who are aware what they’re doing is now illegal — are more likely to move their phone down and out of sight while texting, exacerbating the risk of crashing by taking their eyes further from the road and for a longer time.

At Advocate, we care about your safety and the safety of those around you. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you avoid texting while behind the wheel:

  • When you’re in the car, put your phone somewhere that is out of your sight — this will decrease the temptation to sneak a peak at that incoming text.
  • Put your phone on silent — if you can’t hear the notification, you’re less likely to check your phone.
  • If a conversation is urgent, give your phone to a passenger in the car and let them respond.

Practice these easy safety guidelines and educate those around you about the risks of texting while driving. Responding immediately to that last text is not worth your life or the lives of your loved ones! As always, drive with care.

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