Most people that live in the U.S. that own a car, also likely own a cell phone. There are hundreds of thousands of people that have, at one point or another in their lives, talked on their cell phone while driving. If you are pulled over by a policeman, and get a ticket for talking on your cell phone while driving, will your insurance rates go up? Anytime you get pulled over and are given a ticket, it is because you have done something illegal. Whether you were speeding, driving without a valid license plate, or caught running a stop sign, you can get a ticket.
Even though most people think that it’s not smart to talk on a phone while driving, there is an extremely high number of people that still do it anyways. Most people think that they will never be the tragic victim of an accident caused by a cell phone until one actually happens.
“Stop Think” Commercial to Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Cell Phone Use While Driving (Video)
Even if you don’t think you will get a ticket or get into an accident from talking on your phone while operating a motor vehicle, think again! Accidents as a result of a driver talking on their cell phone occur on a daily basis. In fact, some studies show that talking on your phone while driving is equally as bad as driving drunk! (Talk about scary).
What if I get a ticket for talking on my cell phone while driving?
Tickets generally always raise rates
In general, getting a ticket will increase your car insurance rates. Why? Because a ticket shows your insurance company that you are a riskier driver than they originally thought. When you engage in risky behavior, it means your chances of getting into an accident are greater. Since your chances of getting into an accident increase while engaging in risky driving, the risk for your insurer also increases. Because the risk of the insurance company increases, they will expect you to pay more on your premiums after getting a ticket.
How much more will you be required to pay per month?
If you already got a ticket for talking on the phone while driving, your insurance price will likely be subject to an increased rate. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the exact dollar amount that your premiums will increase because there are other factors that insurance companies will take into account. Insurers will often take a look at your entire risk profile as a driver including: any past driving offenses, the number of accidents you’ve been involved in, as well as the estimated cost of the vehicle that you drive.
States that have officially banned cell phones while driving
Although there are currently only eight states that have banned the use of any hand held device (i.e. cell phones) while driving, many more are starting to follow suit. Right now it’s really just a matter of passing the proper legislation so that policemen can issue tickets for those who are using cell phones on the road. Even though not every state has passed laws to ban the use of cell phones while driving, there are eight that have including both California and New York.
Below is a list of states that have been continuously passing legislation to ban cell phone usage among drivers:
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C. (District of Columbia), Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
What if I got into an accident because I was talking on my cell phone?
If talking on your cell phone caused you to get into an accident, it will be much more likely that you will be issued as the primary person “at fault.” Anytime there are witnesses that see one driver talking on his or her phone, it’s obvious who is going to seem liable for the accident. You could get into significantly further legal trouble if police confirm that you were in fact on your cell phone and that the usage of your cellular device was what caused the accident.
You can expect that your premiums will increase significantly if you are involved in an accident, were talking on your cell phone, and you are “at fault” for the damages. Insurance companies know that if they don’t raise your premiums, they will be taking on more risk without proper compensation. Therefore, if you want to stay with your current insurer, you will need to pay more if you are issued a ticket from cell phone usage.
On the other hand, if you know for a fact that your rates are going to go up because you were talking on your cell phone, you could consider switching car insurance companies. If you think you may want to check out some other companies to see what kind of rates they offer, you can always use the tool at the top of the page. It will allow you to get free quotes and compare the best companies based on your zip code. It’s free and easy to use so I would encourage you to give it a shot if you’re interested!
Be a smart driver: Don’t use your cell phone while driving
The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting your premiums adjusted to a higher rate from cell phone tickets is to avoid using your phone while you are in your vehicle. Whenever I drive, I make it a personal habit to turn off my phone before I even start my car. I keep my phone out of reach so that I don’t even have the temptation to reach for it and turn it on while driving.
If I do need to use my phone to take a call or send a text, I pull off to the side of the road so that I’m not still driving. Side note: Feel free to read the similar question: “Will tickets from texting while driving increase my car insurance rates?” You should be able to guess the answer if you’ve read this article, but there is some extra information there as well.
Anyways, I think most people realize the dangers of phone usage while driving, but many people don’t think that an accident could happen to them. Believe me, nobody thinks they can get into an accident until it actually happens. Not only will you keep your insurance rates lower by avoiding tickets from cell phone use, but you will be protecting yourself from getting into a serious (potentially life-threatening) accident.