Texting while driving is increased risk factor for Auto accidents:

Everywhere I look people are on their phones… despite the obvious danger and laws preventing this behavior, I still see people texting while they are driving.

Seems like their priority is the phone use first then drive safely second and driving is getting in the way of first priority.  People don’t seem to realize texting while driving is an increased risk factor for Auto accidents.  Regardless of the laws against this hazardous behavior it continues to result in increased risk to individuals and society.

If the increased risk below doesn’t get drivers attention hopefully the Financial Impact is attention grabbing.  The Financial risk associated can vary greatly depending on your state laws and whether or not claimants can pursue Punitive damages.   Just a reminder Punitive damages are not insurable in some states…see below what that means for you.


  • Individuals who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers.
  • A crash typically happens within an average of three seconds after a driver is distracted.

Facts About Texting & Driving

  • The United States Department of Transportation notes that cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year that cause a half million injuries and take 6,000 lives.
  • During any point of the day, 11 percent of drivers are talking on their cell phones, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • A study from the University of Utah indicated that the reaction time of a teen driver using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone.
  • According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an auto crash than driving when intoxicated.
  • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute installed cameras on dashboards inside truck cabs. From the video footage, on average it took five seconds with their eyes off the road when driver’s experienced distractions. The distance covered in five seconds of driving at 55 mph is equivalent to the length of a football field.

It’s scary to see others looking at the phone in a moving vehicle especially after reading these statistics- I think over time we’ve grow numb as a society to the risks associated with texting while driving.

Experience phenomenon

The brain is very funny, our mental capacity and ability to overweight our experience vs. logical thought and reason is why statisticians, economists, gamblers, insurers, etc. have the ability to make money due to these deviation from logic and overweight value on personal experience.

Every time people text and drive, it gives them an additional experience of no accident, this experience history builds up their confidence that an accident will not occur from the behavior- therefore is not dangerous.


Hence the introduction and need of self driving vehicles.

Behavioral problem

Texting while driving is a behavioral problem which seems easy to fix.  Laws have been implemented and are intended on addressing it, but we all need to speak up.

See this emotional video.

Financial Impact

Texting while driving negatively impacts many different aspects of society.  But considering this site mission, I will focus on the insurance aspect.

  • With the statistics above around distracted driving, the financial loss to insurance companies and to individuals is astronomical and growing.
  • Insurers should insist on auto manufacturers and phone manufacturers disabling text features while person is driving. I hope to see insurance companies taking a lead on this issue going forward.
  • Financial incentives are also another great place to start to change consumer behavior- if an insurance company can get a “phone disable button” that their insured drivers can use during vehicle operation, it would be great to implement a discount to insured drivers using such a feature vs. drivers who choose not to use the feature.
  • Some states have laws already or are pushing laws to allow plaintiffs to pursue Punitive damages for any person who texts while driving and commits a noncriminal traffic infraction.
    • This is an important change as historically, punitive damages generally have not been permitted where one is reckless in the operation, maintenance and use of one’s vehicle.
    • Depending on your state punitive damages may or may not be insurable.    Repeat Punitive Damages may not be covered by your insurance depending on your state laws!
    • Therefore a verdict awarding punitive damages is likely to come directly out of your pocket and/or expose your networth, house, assets.

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Arnold Smith

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