California Cell Phone Tickets and Your Insurance Rates

December 1, 2012

Insurance companies are coming after your money! In the state of California, it's illegal for all drivers to talk on a cell phone and to text message behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), we are one of 10 states with such a law on the books. If the law isn't enough to keep you from using you phone at the wheel, drop your phone and grab your wallet!
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According to FOX Business, insurance companies are now coming after drivers who text behind the wheel.

Our Modesto car accident attorneys have talked about the dangers that accompany distracted driving. Distracted driving increases your risks for an accident. You're 4 times more likely to crash when using a hand-held cell phone and 23 times more likely to crash when text messaging.

In California, the text messaging and cell phone law are primary offenses, meaning that an officer can stop a driver and ticket them for it. Still, there are far too many drivers engaging in these dangerous behaviors behind the wheel. For this reason, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS) decided to drop $550,000 into a pilot program in Massachusetts and in Connecticut to see which enforcement efforts work best for getting drivers to hang up the phone. The truth of the matter is that enforcement efforts work. Now, it's just figuring out which ones work the best.

The insurance industry is paying closer attention now to what drivers are doing behind the wheel. They're not the best at having your back when you're in an accident, but you better believe they're going to be looking over your shoulder and call you out on your distracted driving violations. Even in states where texting tickets are not considered moving violations, and so don't result in points on your license, insurance companies are expected to begin using violations as a reason to increase your premiums.

According to the most recent statistics, more than 3,000 people die in distracted driving car accidents each and every year. Officials claim this number is actually much higher because distractions are not always cited on accident reports -- meaning that drivers aren't willing to fess up. There's no test that can determine if a driver was distracted at the time of the accident. In drunk driving cases we have breathalyzers and other tests. Unfortunately, there's nothing for distracted driving.

The state of California uses the driver's license point system for moving violations. Insurance companies use these points to hike your insurance rates.

DMV Point System in California:

-One Point: Child passenger violations, mechanics and equipment violations and minor moving violations.

-Two Points: Driving under the influence, hit-and-run accidents, driving on a revoked or suspended license and reckless driving.

If you get 4 points within a year, you're going to get your license suspended. The same thing goes for if you get 6 points in two years and 8 points with 3 years.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Robert J. Anaya for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-209-522-7500.

Additional Resources:

U Text and Drive? Expect Higher Car Insurance, by Don Hanzlik, FOX Business

More Blog Entries:

Modesto Injury Attorneys Note Autumn Road Risks, Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, October 30, 2012

Modesto Auto Accidents - Road Rage & Aggressive Driving a Growing Problem, Modesto Injury Lawyer Blog, September 29, 2012