Distracted driving has become such a huge problem on the roads of America that car insurance companies have been increasing their rates. At the heart of the situation is a spike in smartphone usage behind the wheel, which has resulted in more serious car accidents across the country.
Car Accidents on the Rise in the U.S.
As we detailed in a recent blog post, there were more than 40,000 motor vehicle deaths in 2016, the first time since 2007 the number has eclipsed that landmark. In the past two years, this number has increased by nearly 14%, the highest two-year spike in over fifty years.
Car insurance companies, in an effort to keep up, are now increasing their prices.
Car Insurance Rates Rise
As more and more accidents happen, and more of them result in serious personal injuries or property damage, car insurance companies pay out more in claims to car accident victims. This eats into their profits, so they pass the cost on to drivers by raising the cost of their insurance. As a result, car insurance premiums have increased right alongside the increase in car accidents over the past few years.
In fact, some insurance companies are going so far as to claim that the cost of covering car accidents has been so sharp that it’s actually outstripped their premium increases. According to them, the root of the problem has been smartphones, and how distracting they can be.
Smartphones at the Heart of the Problem
According to Bill Caldwell, an executive vice president at the insurance company Horace Mann, “distracted driving was always there, but it just intensified as more applications for the smartphones became available.”
Other insurance companies have also noticed the apparent connection between car accidents and smartphones. During the same time period that car accidents have trended upwards, smartphone ownership has increased from 52% to 88%. Safety experts have also pointed to smartphones as one of the primary culprits in the increase in car accidents.
Drivers are even admitting that they drive while distracted because of their phones. According to a survey conducted by the insurance company State Farm, 36% of people it surveyed in 2015 said they texted while driving, and 29% said they used the internet. This was up from 31% and 13% in a similar survey they conducted back in 2009. Young drivers were especially prone to using their smartphones. 54% of drivers under 29 said they used the internet while driving in the 2015 survey.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the biggest problems on the road. The worst part about it is that, even if you drive safely and attentively, that doesn’t mean that everyone else will. This can lead to you getting into a serious car accident, through no fault of your own.
If this happens to you or a loved one, you could find yourself suddenly without a car, and with severe injuries to treat. The inconvenience, pain and suffering, and cost of getting everything back to normal are all significant. You deserve help from those who caused the accident.