Online Auto Insurance: New Penn. Law Should Serve as Wake-Up Call to Motorists

November 14, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
A new Pennsylvania law that bans texting while driving should serve as a wake-up call for motorists about the many dangers associated with taking their eyes off the road, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

State and federal safety officials say driver distractions, including the use of mobile devices, cause thousands of deaths and millions of dollars in property damage each year. And the costs can be steep even for those who don't cause harm to others, including pricey repair bills, traffic citations and possibly being forced to buy high risk car insurance that comes with larger monthly premiums.

The legislation, which takes effect in the Keystone State in March, makes sending, reading or receiving messages using cell phones or other wireless communication devices behind the wheel a summary offense punishable by a $50 fine.

Distracted driving-which can include eating, drinking, texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel-was to blame for 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009. And 18 percent of traffic fatalities involved reports of a driver being distracted by a cell phone.


While being cited for texting while driving in Pennsylvania will not impact vehicle policy rates, the behavior has been shown to cause accidents. And being found to have been at fault in a crash can lead insurers to consider a motorist a greater risk than most to cover, which in turn means higher premiums.

Teenagers-who studies have shown are more likely than other drivers to text or talk on the phone from the driver's seat-have long been considered a greater-than-average risk by insurers and are therefore often expensive to insure.

The new law doesn't outlaw talking on a cell phone while driving. Another measure that failed in the state Legislature would have banned both texting and talking on a hand-held cell phone, and would have hit violators with a $75 fine and one point added to their driving record.

Pennsylvania is one of 35 states to have banned texting for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

To learn more about this and other car insurance, readers can go to where they will find informative resource pages and a rate-comparison generator that can quickly evaluate their coverage options.