Distracted driving is a big thing these days thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and the millions of people in the U.S. who are hopelessly addicted to using them. As recently as 10 years ago, distracted driving was not really even a “thing.”
As of 2021, however, distracted driving claims an estimated 3,000 lives each year, and states across the U.S. have enacted targeted laws making it illegal. In this post, we will explain what impact a ticket for distracted driving could have on your auto insurance rates.
Does a Distracted Driving Ticket Affect Your Car Insurance?
The simple answer to this question is yes. If you get a traffic ticket or citation for violating your state’s distracted driving law, it will negatively affect your auto insurance rating and could increase how much you pay. Exactly how much a distracted driving ticket will impact your insurance depends on how many “points” the violation carries in your state, what insurance company you have, and what your prior driving record looks like.
The rate that you pay for your auto insurance is based on a number of different factors that insurance companies use to evaluate your “risk” level. These factors include demographic things that you have no control over such as your age, gender, and where you live.
Your auto insurance rate is also heavily impacted by your personal driving and accident record. In fact, your driving record impacts your rates more than anything else. There are 2 aspects of your “driving record” that impact your insurance: (1) prior claims; and (2) points on your license.
- Prior Claims: the number of claims you have made on your auto accident insurance in the past 2 or 3 years (depending on the insurer) will affect your rates. The more claims you have the higher your rates will be.
- Points on Your License: the number of points you currently have on your license from prior traffic tickets will impact your insurance rate.
How Much Will My Insurance Go Up from a Distracted Driving Ticket?
The impact of a distracted driving ticket on your insurance rate will depend on how many points your state attaches to distracted driving violations. This can get tricky because unlike speeding and other traffic violations, distracted driving rules and points vary widely from state to state.
Insurance.com recently conducted a survey to determine the average rate increase drivers could expect to see from a distracted driving violation. The survey polled 6 different insurance carriers in all 50 states. The results of the survey suggested that drivers who get busted for texting and driving saw an average increase of 23% on their auto insurance rates.
How Will a Distracted Driving Ticket Impact Your Insurance in Maryland?
Maryland’s distracted driving law prohibits drivers from using a handheld cellphone device while driving. The penalties and points for using a handheld device behind the wheel differ depending on whether your violation involves talking or texting. If you get caught talking on your handheld phone, it’s an $83 fine for your first offense, $140 for your second, and $160 for your third offense. There are no points for this violation (unless the violation causes an accident). The penalties for texting and driving (which includes texting, emailing, tweeting, or any type of typing on your device while driving) are a bit steeper in Maryland. If you get busted for texting and driving, it’s a $70 fine and 1 point on your driver’s license. If the texting and driving violation contributes to an accident, you get 3 points.
Insurance companies base their ratings on points, not actual tickets or violations. So in Maryland, if you get ticketed for talking or using your handheld phone it won’t impact your insurance rate because it doesn’t carry points. A 1-point ticket for texting and driving could impact your rates, but not very much considering a speeding ticket carries 2 points in Maryland.
Contact a Maryland Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a Maryland auto accident involving distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our Baltimore auto accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.