Clients distracted driving? Their rates could jump by over 40%

While the issue of distracted driving is not disappearing anytime soon, a new report shows that insurers are taking a harder stance against the driving violation.

A study recently conducted by car insurance search engine The Zebra found that motorists ticketed for distracted driving could see their auto insurance premiums increase by an average of 16%, or roughly $226 a year. In one state, premiums could shoot up as much as 41% if a policyholder gets slapped with a distracted driving violation.

The same report found that the costliest state for distracted drivers is Michigan – violators could see their annual rates surge by an average of $681. In terms of cities, Detroit is the costliest for violators; average increases in the metro area could reach as high as $2,000.

Meanwhile, the least costly state for violators is New York, with an average increase of only $2.51.

“Speeding, drinking and driving, disobeying traffic signals – those violations have (unfortunately) been around since the advent of automobiles. Distracted driving is really the only new dangerous behavior to affect your driving record,” The Zebra director of market insights Alyssa Connolly told Forbes.

Connolly explained that the sudden spike in distracted driving penalty increases is due to the industry only recently corroborating the risks of the violation.

“The insurance industry and regulators have to ensure any rate changes they make are justified, so even though cell phones aren’t new to you and me, the risks and dangers they pose for drivers have only recently been substantiated – and now distracted drivers are really seeing the effects on their premiums,” she said.

The Zebra also listed in its report the 10 states where being ticketed for distracted driving will boost a driver’s auto insurance premiums by the highest average percentages:

  • Vermont – 41% ($425).
  • Connecticut – 34% ($520).
  • Oregon – 31% ($432).
  • Mississippi – 31% ($559).
  • Tennessee – 29% ($379).
  • Arizona – 28% ($344).
  • Michigan – 26% ($681).
  • Maine – 25% ($236).
  • Ohio – 25% ($263).
  • New Jersey – 24% ($407)