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Avoid Rate Hikes: Don’t Drive Distracted

The State of Ohio’s new primary offense—distracted driving—is intended to cut down on the number of lives lost due to distracted drivers. In 2020, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives across the country. That’s nine people who are killed every day while someone decides to read a text message or Facebook post. Beyond lives lost, 424,000 people were injured in crashes with a distracted driver in 2019.

The Facts about Distracted Driving

If you own a cell phone, chances are you’ve been guilty of glancing down at your device while driving. Let’s be honest. We’ve all done it. 

It’s easy to think that it’s just a couple of seconds… what could it hurt? For every 1-2 seconds you spend looking down at your phone while driving, your car travels 300 feet. At 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed (CDC).

Not only are your eyes not on the road, your reaction time to sudden stops, people or animals in the road, changing lights, and more is decreased when you’re focused on your phone or other activities, like eating and looking around your car.

But distracted driving isn’t just about being visually distracted (taking your eyes off the road). There are two other forms of distracted driving: manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and cognitive (taking your mind off driving).

The Consequences of Distracted Driving

Adults who violate the distracted driving laws in the State of Ohio can be fined up to $150 for a first offense and two points on their license, unless a distracted driving safety course is completed. Repeat offenders are subject to increased penalties. 

For drivers under the age of 18, all “electronic wireless communications device” use is illegal, including texting and even hands-free talking. A “texting and driving” conviction as a teenager results in a suspended license for 60 days and a fine up to $150. A second offense doubles the fine and suspends your license as long as one year.

Besides these legal ramifications, your auto insurance rates are also affected by distracted driving violations. Any traffic violations can drive up your premium rates, because these violations indicate that you are a riskier driver to insure than someone who has no violations on their record.

What You Can Do to Reduce Potential Costs

First and foremost, don’t drive distracted! Your good habits will keep your insurance rates low and save lives and injuries at the same time. Don’t multitask while you are driving—this means more than just being distracted by your cell phone. Eating, selecting music, adjusting your mirrors, making phone calls, reading texts or emails, and more are all activities that draw your eyes, hands, and mind away from the road.

If you do violate the distracted driver law or other traffic laws, you have options to be able to remove the violation from your record. In Ohio, you are able to enroll in a remedial driving course to clean up your license points. Once you’ve completed this course, submit proof to your insurance company. 

If you find yourself in a spot where your insurance company is unwilling to revise their rates after you’ve completed your course, it could be time to shop around. Wichert Insurance is here to help you stay safe and protected on the road as well as to offer you personal customer service with real-life agents who live in your community. We can help you make the right choice for your insurance needs by getting to know you. Insurance is all about protecting the things and people you love. Contact Wichert Insurance… when you can give us your full attention, and after your vehicle has come to a complete stop.