Auto insurance rates across our state continue to rise. Thankfully, my companies are below average with rate increases. One of the primary reasons for the auto rate increases is distracted driving.
You and I see it almost every day. You pass by someone driving a vehicle and they have their cell phone in one hand while they drive with the other. The driver continues to look back and forth from cell phone screen to what’s in front of them. The odds against that driving combination working is NOT in our favor. So, when any of us are distracted, the chance for an accident occurs and consequently, an insurance claim is filed. According to a recent study, Tennessee leads the nation in cell phone distracted driving deaths.
Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill last week that would make driving while holding a cell phone illegal. The measure has been sent to Governor Bill Lee’s desk. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
If the bill is signed into law, drivers would still be able to use their phones while behind the wheel, but they would not be able to physically hold the phone. Drivers could mount their phone on their dashboard or put the phone in a place like a cupholder. Drivers would also still be able to use features like ‘talk-to-text’
“It’s great to have these laws in place, but it goes further than that,” AAA representative Megan Cooper said, adding that cell phones are a distraction whether they are in a driver’s hand or mounted on a dashboard. “Say you’re making a phone call, you’re using voice to text. That distraction can linger up to 27 seconds. Even if you have your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, if you’re not thinking about driving, you’re not doing your job as a driver.”
Cooper and other experts urge drivers not to just follow the law but go beyond the minimum and keep their phones off or put away while they are behind the wheel.
If the Governor does sign this new bill into law, it will go into effect in July of this year.
In my view, it’s a step in the right direction. Many folks just aren’t abiding by the ‘don’t text and drive’ or ‘don’t hold the phone while driving’ logic. Something must be done, or we’ll continue to see deaths and accidents increase even more going forward.
We want you to be safe instead of sorry. Claims from distracted driving are on the increase here at the agency so we see firsthand what a risk it is. Let us help you navigate through this and other issues regarding your insurance.
Let us know if we can help you with that or any other insurance needs. TEXT or CALL US at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com.