Waitte's Insurance Agency
Serving the area for over 100 years
Waitte's Insurance Agency
Serving the area for over 100 years
Waitte's Insurance Agency
Serving the area for over 100 years
Waitte's Insurance Agency
Serving the area for over 100 years

Are Cell Phones Causing a Distracted Driving Epidemic?

Distracted Driving

We see the same story in the news almost on a daily basis now;  another traffic accident caused by distracted driving. More specifically, increasing numbers of drivers and passengers are being injured or killed due to someone driving while texting or talking on cell phones. Why is it so difficult for some to put away their cell phones while driving?

Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives.  The number of smartphones in use rose dramatically from 21% of Americans in 2011 to 46% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center (webmd.com). With this increase and consistency of smartphone use, Americans are seemingly becoming dependent on their devices to communicate, entertain, and even organize their personal affairs and daily routines. In fact, many experts have come to the conclusion that smartphone use has become an obsession, compulsion, or even an addiction for some people.

Of course, a larger number of smartphones in use (and the need to stay connected) means a greater instance of smartphone abuse. The majority of the time the abuse is merely an annoyance or an inconvenience;  people talking on their phones at the restaurant, texters who walk around with their heads down, not watching where they are going. Unfortunately, smartphone abuse does not end there.   

The number of drivers distracted by smartphones on American roads is disturbing.  As many as 660,000 Americans may be driving while distracted at any time during a typical day (edgarsnyder.com).   With so many Americans driving while distracted, it shouldn’t be too surprising that 330,000 injuries occur yearly, a result of 1.6 million distracted driving crashes; and these numbers continue to rise every year. 

Teens Driving While Distracted:

Distracted driving numbers for teen drivers are even more staggering: In 2013, 21% of teenage driving fatalities were caused by smartphone distraction. Teens are four times more likely to be involved in distracted driving crashes or near-crashes. 

Whether it is a teen or an adult, distracted drivers have made our roadways less safe for all of us.  As responsible drivers, it is our duty to keep our eyes, and our attention focused on the road ahead. At 55 miles per hour, a vehicle travels 100 yards in the 5 seconds it takes for you to simply look down at a text; making it nearly impossible to react in time to avoid an unforeseen circumstance such as a deer in the middle of the road.

If you’ve gotten into the habit of constantly checking your phone when you’ve gotten an alert, try making an effort to store your phone in an unreachable place while driving until you have arrived at your destination so the temptation to check it is gone. It is also advised to pre-set your GPS or navigational system prior to departing for your trip to avoid the need to do so while driving. Pre-setting your desired radio station or asking a passenger to operate the radio controls is also recommended when behind the wheel.

Whether we see it as an epidemic or not, the death and injury numbers associated with distracted driving caused by smartphone use are sobering. Our lives can be so full of pitfalls and dangers, doesn’t it make sense to eliminate such an obvious distraction where you can?  Be considerate to yourselves, your families, and the drivers around you by not driving distracted.  No call, text, tweet, or Facebook post is worth a life.

When it comes to car insurance, a driver’s premium is influenced by a number of factors that can vary from state to state.  Your driving record, which consists of your history of traffic tickets, accident claims, and arrests for intoxicated driving is a major factor in determining your cost out-of-pocket each month. Learn the top factors that insurance companies use to calculate your car insurance premium in Connecticut by clicking here.

Just a Scratch? When NOT to File an Insurance Claim

Not to file

So you’ve gotten into a car accident. You’re not alone. Each year, there are around 6 million crashes in the United States, from serious, fatality accidents to what may seem to be minor, non-incidents. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, accidents in the United States cost about $230.6 billion each year — about $820 per person. 

Keeping unforeseen costs down is one of the main reasons for getting automotive insurance. In situations where there is significant property damage or medical injuries, auto insurance can help to cover the costs that might exceed what the individuals involved can afford. Sometimes, though, filing an auto insurance claim might cost you more in the long run, and it’s good to know whether that small bump in your door will cause a much larger bump in your premiums.

When it is Advised NOT to File a Claim:

 – When you can cover the damage repairs yourself

It’s a good idea to double-check your deductible if you don’t already know what you’ve set. If you have a high-deductible policy, it may be better, in the long run, to pay the costs yourself, rather than filing an insurance claim. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible, and your repairs are only going to cost about $1,300, paying the entire $1,300 out of pocket will keep the price at $1,300. If you file a claim, however, even in situations with little to no monetary impact on your policy, the mere act of filing a claim could cause a spike in your policy.

– When you’ve caused little to no damage to someone else’s vehicle

Sometimes a bump is just a bump. If you’ve barely tapped another vehicle, yes, it’s still good to talk to the other party and assess the damage if there was any. However, if both parties agree there was no damage, filing a claim could be a costly phone call. It is still advisable to file a police report, though, so that both sides are covered in the event that legal action needs to take place down the line.

– When you’ve been in a one-car accident with no injuries, or with medical expenses that you can cover yourself

Many people have accidently backed into items, with little to no damage, and the only injury being to their pride. In these situations, even if you did sustain some injuries, as long as the expenses don’t exceed your ability to pay, it’s better to cover the costs yourself and avoid filing an insurance claim.

– When someone has hit you with little damage, and they agree to pay for the cost of repairs

If you trust that the person who was at fault will indeed pay for the repairs, both parties could benefit from not filing an insurance claim. Even if you weren’t the party responsible for the accident, filing a claim could still increase your rates. WARNING: It is NOT advised to entrust a total stranger to pay for any repairs caused in an accident.

Do Your Homework

Before you decide whether or not you should file a claim, it’s important to remember that when there is more than one party involved, calling to get a police report is important to prevent any contradictory stories from coming out in the future. Also, keep in mind that insurance laws and requirements vary from state to state, and from company to company. Understand your policy requirement, consider the long-term implications of not filing a claim, and you could see some significant cost savings.

In some circumstances, not filing an auto insurance claim is unavoidable. Personal injuries and extensive vehicle damage are prime reasons for why insurance is so crucial to have as a licensed driver. If you need to file a claim or would simply like to review your current auto insurance policy, contact Waitte’s Insurance by clicking here.