OAIN: Proposed Texting Ban Could Have Auto Insurance Implications

January 18, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Oklahoma Sen. Jerry Ellis has introduced a bill to the state Legislature that would outlaw texting while driving and consider it a moving violation when drivers disobey the ban, according to Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN).

Moving violations typically make it onto a motorist's driving record, and insurance companies would likely see the violation when determining how big of a risk a particular driver is to insure. If the bill were to become law, that would mean motorists who are convicted of texting while driving might see higher premiums because of that conviction.

The ban could be just one more reason for those looking for cheap car insurance for teenagers to eliminate distractions while driving, since that demographic-the most likely to text behind the wheel-is already considered a high risk group that gets charged more for coverage.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Oklahoma already prohibits the state's youngest drivers-those with learner's permits or intermediate licenses-from sending messages while driving. But Ellis's bill would put the state's policy in line with the 35 states that already have bans on texting for all drivers.

Not all of those bans include provisions that add points to a driver's record for sending a text message from behind the wheel. States like New York and Alaska do add points for violations of their bans, while states like California and Pennsylvania only impose a fine on offenders.

But a violation of the potential Oklahoma ban could be costly despite whether an insurer decides to bump up premiums. That's because Ellis is proposing a fine of up to $175 for a first violation and a fine of up to $500 for subsequent offenses. And those amounts double if the driver's text messaging contributes to an accident.

Source: http://newlsb.lsb.state.ok.us/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=SB1027&Session=1200

To learn more about this and other coverage issues, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/teenagers/ to find informative resources and a helpful rate-comparison generator.