Lawmakers are trying to find a formula to make the roads safer from distractions. Many states have passed distracted driving legislation, rolled out large campaigns, and enforced penalties for cell phone use while driving.
Georgia has been facing one of the largest increases in traffic fatalities over the recent years. Those campaigning for stricter laws point out that by reducing the number of distraction related deaths by 20 percent it would save 260 lives a year. According to TrueMotion, a company that collects data on cell phone usage for insurance companies, Georgia had a 22 percent reduction in cell use while driving during the first month of the bill’s induction. Rhode Island and Oregon passed similar laws earlier in the year and have seen decreases in levels of distraction as well.
TrueMotion claims that the average driver spends 17 percent of their driving time on the phone. With data like this, insurance companies are trying to entice drivers to minimize distractions with incentives. Some even offer gift cards to those who stay off the phone while driving.
Stopdistractions.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those affected by distracted driving, is currently campaigning for hands-free legislature in 14 states. Along with the new hands-free laws in Georgia, Rhode Island, and Oregon, StopDistractions.org hopes their advocacy can help end distracted driving accidents.
Distracted driving does not only affect those involved. Auto insurance rates have risen by 20% in the last 7 years and much of that has to do with the increase in distracted driving related costs. Distracted driving offenders can see a large increase in their insurance rates. Each state and insurance company varies in the appraisal of rates due to distracted driving, averaging anywhere from $2 to $681 in annual increases. Cell phone usage violations are rather new compared to other traffic violations, such as speeding, which are more easily assessed by insurance companies. With accessibility of new data, like that provided by TrueMotion, insurance companies will be able to justify the increase in insurance rates due to cell phone distractions.
With all the distractions that can come about while driving, there are ways to prevent cell-phone distractions. By providing bluetooth headsets for your employees or enforcing a “do not disturb while driving” rule, you can help keep cell phone distractions at a minimum while employees are driving.