Posted by on February 20, 2017 11:30 pm
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Categories: Distracted driving Economy Finance insurance Insurance Information Institute Market Share Mobile phones and driving safety obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Road safety smartphone smartphones Text messaging Texting while driving Transport Vehicle insurance Wall Street Journal

If you’re among the millions of Americans that have noticed your auto insurance premiums skyrocketing in recent years then you may want to thank the people in your life who habitually text and drive.  Since 2009, the average, annual U.S. car-insurance premium has risen over 17%, to $926 in 2016, according to trade group Insurance Information Institute. 

And, just like Obamacare, that rising premium is simply the socialization of added risks created by people making bad life decisions…like driving their cars at 80 miles per hour on a crowded freeway while simultaneously looking down at their phones to text about the latest Kardashian rumor.

Auto Insurance Rates

Of course, auto insurance rates are rising despite all of the high-tech, anti-collision bells and whistles that have been added to vehicles (at a very hefty price, we might add) over the past decade as seemingly no amount of gadgetry can offset the benefits of actually keeping your eyes on the road…no matter what Tesla would have you believe.

According to a note from the Wall Street Journal, 36% of drivers admitted to texting and driving in a State Farm survey in 2015, which we assume means that the real number is roughly double that.

It’s “an epidemic issue for this country,” said Michael LaRocco, chief executive of State Auto Financial Corp., at an insurance-industry conference last month.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest U.S. auto insurer by market share, said 36% of the people it surveyed in 2015 admitted to texting while driving, and 29% said they access the internet, compared with 31% and 13%, respectively, in 2009.

State Farm’s survey found that 52% of respondents in 2011 owned a smartphone, and 88% owned one in 2015.

“Distracted driving was always there, but it just intensified as more applications for the smartphones became available,” said Bill Caldwell, executive vice president of property and casualty at Horace Mann, in a recent interview. The insurer expects to raise rates 8% this year, on top of average 6.5% increases in 2016.

Oddly enough, insurance payouts started to spike right about the same time the first iPhone hit the shelves in 2007.

Auto Insurance Rates

Meanwhile, as if texting and driving weren’t bad enough, roughly 20% of people admitted to State Farm that they regularly snap selfies from the driver’s seat and about 10% record videos….because why not?

The alarms being sounded by the industry are based partly on internal investigations to determine causes of policyholders’ crashes. Many insurers collect police reports, witness statements and their own drivers’ accounts in costlier wrecks, executives said. In claims that involve litigation, they may obtain drivers’ phone records, they said.

State Farm began surveying the public in 2009 to assess behind-the-wheel phone use. Drivers that participated in the survey acknowledge the distractions of their smartphones, according to State Farm, but many continue to use them. In the latest survey, about one-fifth of drivers admitted taking photos with their phones and a 10th recorded video. Both these activities were added to the 2015 survey.

”Those are big numbers, and they are going in the wrong direction,” said Chris Mullen, who heads State Farm’s technology research.

Of course, life is just a little better when we spread the wealth around to pay for the bad decisions of others…just ask Obama.

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