Higher insurance rates for texting drivers could be in the future

New technology could be used by car insurance companies to track when drivers use their cellphone and increase their insurance rates.

Every day in West Virginia, people are injured and killed in distracted-driving related car accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1,000 people are injured and nine people die every day in car accidents where a driver was distracted. Distracted driving includes activities like texting and driving as well as eating, drinking, switching the radio and talking to passengers behind the wheel.

A new tracking method

To potentially deter drivers from texting and driving, a unit of Allstate Insurance, Arity, has developed technology that can track in-car smartphone use. Using the information collected, insurance providers can reward drivers for avoiding distraction or monetarily punish them when they use their phone and drive.

Using an accelerometer in a smartphone combined with a gyroscope, this technology can sense when a handheld device is moved. For example, it can track if a device is lying on a flat surface or being held in a person's hand. This technology can also determine when apps are being used and whether or not the phone is locked.

Arity recently described the technology as one method to promote safe driving among drivers. It also developed this technology after analyzing data collected by drivers with Allstate Insurance policies. This research confirmed that drivers who use their cellphones and drive are more dangerous to others around them.

While this technology could reduce texting and driving-related accidents, state insurance offices will need to approve it. Additionally, car insurance companies will not be able to implement it unless drivers agree to its use first.

Why texting and driving is so dangerous

While distraction in any form is dangerous to drivers, passengers and pedestrians, texting and driving is one of the most hazardous distracted driving activities. This is because it combines manual, cognitive and visual distraction.

Manual distraction occurs when drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel and cognitive distraction happens when drivers stop thinking about driving. Visual distraction occurs when drivers look at something other than the road in front of them, such as a cellphone, GPS device, or the radio.

Contact Warner Law Offices

Those injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver in West Virginia may experience financial, emotional and physical harm on a short and long-term basis. Car accident victims who want to ensure their legal rights are protected should reach out to our attorneys in to determine what steps they should take next.