Study shows breaking distracted driving laws in Michigan results in 26% average increase in No-Fault auto insurance premiums – even more for traffic tickets for distracted driving in Detroit
Drivers who choose to put the public and themselves at great risk by breaking the distracted driving laws are paying more … much more …for auto No-Fault insurance.
As readers of this Auto Law blog know, I normally write on how drivers and consumers can lower rates.
As an insurance and auto accident lawyer of 25 years, I write about ways drivers can save money on car insurance.
Here’s one easy tip. Don’t break the law in Michigan and text and drive. You’ll be paying a hefty penalty for distracted driving if you get caught.
In his Forbes article, “Pay Attention: Distracted Driving Could Boost Your Insurance Rates By As Much As 41%,” writer Jim Gorzelany reports that a recent study from the insurance consumer website, The Zebra, has shown that:
- “The costliest state for distracted drivers is Michigan, where violators will see their annual rates shoot up by an average $681; these penalties approach the $2,000 mark in the Detroit metro area, which happens to be the costliest city in the U.S. for car insurance.”
- “[B]eing ticketed for distracted driving [in Michigan] will boost a motorist’s auto insurance premiums by” an average of 26% or $681.
Michigan’s distracted driving laws come with a hefty price for offenders
The big spike in premiums that people who text and drive will see for violating Michigan’s distracted driving law makes sense given the significantly increased risk of being involved in a car crash that is associated with distracted driving and texting while driving.
Insurers are charging higher rates to drivers who have been ticketed for distracted driving because people who text and drive and violate laws meant to prevent distracted driving have a considerably greater risk of causing (not to mention just being involved in) a car crash.
When it comes to stopping the increasingly deadly epidemic of distracted driving, it makes sense to charge drivers who violate our distracted driving law more for the increased danger they’re creating for themselves and everyone else on the road.
What is the crash risk of violating the distracted driving laws?
People who drive while distracted or while texting are at a much higher risk of causing a car crash than are non-distracted, attentive drivers. For instance:
- “Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving,” according to a 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
- The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that “dialing a handheld cell phone” while driving made the driver “12 times more likely to crash.”
What are Michigan’s distracted driving laws and what behavior do they outlaw?
Michigan doesn’t have a specific “distracted driving” law – despite repeated, well-intentioned attempts by some lawmakers to pass this long-overdue and much-needed measure.
But it does have a ban on texting while driving (which, apparently, was included in the definition of “distracted driving” in The Zebra study which was reported on in Forbes):
- Michigan bans all drivers from texting while driving. The penalty for a violation is a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine for all subsequent offenses. No jail time. No points on the driver’s license. (MCL 257.602b)