15 Dec, 2023

Exploring the effects of distracted driving on car insurance premiums

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shared alarming statistics in 2020 on distracted driving. Out of the five million reported crashes—ranging from minor vehicle damage to fatal—13 percent were due to distracted drivers. To put it into perspective, that’s nearly 680 thousand accidents.

Distracted driving is more than just driving with a phone in your hand. It’s anything that could potentially take away your attention from the road (we’ll get into this later). Driving distraction-free is necessary to keep you, and others safe.

At Insurance Company, we talked a lot about distraction and its effects on your driving. But have you considered how distracted driving could impact your car insurance rate? As a telematics-based insurer, we’ll share some insights on the impact these dangerous driving behaviors may have on your insurance rate.

Types of distracted driving

It's completely understandable to hear "distracted driving" and immediately assume texting while driving. And while that is undoubtedly a distraction on the road, there are other types of distracted driving that we want to clear up for you.

Visual distractions

Have you had a moment where you’re distracted by something visually while driving? This could be fireworks in the sky, deer on a nearby hillside or simply trying to find your exit off the freeway.

But, visual distractions don’t happen solely outside of your car; some of the more common visual distractions happen inside of the vehicle. Take your infotainment system. Often found as a touchscreen on your car’s dashboard, an infotainment system houses your listening options, climate preferences and other features.

Devices in your car can be a visual distraction for many drivers that may also contribute to other forms of distractions on the road.

Manual distractions

You can think of manual distractions as anything that takes your hands off the wheel. Before you think, “cellphone”, consider these other forms of manual distractions:

  • Adjusting the radio or temperature
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Reaching for things in the car
  • Cognitive distractions

While not intentional, cognitive distractions are a form of distracted driving that takes your mind away from driving safely. Focus is a key component to driving distraction-free, and when things get in the way to pull our attention or thoughts away from the task at hand—it's, well, distracting.

Some common cognitive distractions could be talking to your passengers, listening to a podcast or audiobook, speaking to someone on the phone, or simply feeling stressed, tired and lost in thought.

With all of these different types of distractions, how can they impact your car insurance premium? Let’s connect the dots.

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