These States are Tackling Distracted Driving

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As distracted driving becomes a bigger and bigger problem throughout the country, many states have cracked down with stricter laws and more enforcement to tackle the issue on their roadways once and for all.
The most recent among them to join the ranks include Arkansas, North Dakota, and Ohio. With increased patrol cars, the creation of safety corridors, and more, these three states are making impressive strides in fighting back against the dangerous and often deadly practice.
closeup of someone holding a cellphone next to the steering wheel with a view of the road ahead
Several states are cracking down on distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This could be anything from texting to talking on the phone, or even eating while driving. Other, less extreme examples of distracted driving may be talking to other people in your car, touching your car stereo, or pulling up directions on your navigation system.
Texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving, because sending or reading a text takes your attention away from the road for at least five seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
It is up to each individual state to make laws regarding distracted driving in their territory. Today, almost every state has laws against texting, talking on a cell phone, and other forms of distracted driving. To see the laws in your state, visit the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

New state policies on distracted driving

  • Arkansas—According to a recent KATV article, Arkansas police are debuting new vehicles to specifically target distracted drivers. There will be 25 new, low-profile vehicles divided among the 12 highway patrol troops across the state to search for irresponsible drivers.
  • North Dakota—September marks the start of North Dakota’s “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.” initiative. During the month, North Dakota has pledged to increase enforcement of distracted driving laws with more law enforcement on the state’s roads.
  • Ohio—In Ohio, the Department of Transportation and State Highway Patrol have teamed up to establish a distracted driving safety corridor in the state. The safety corridor is a 12-mile stretch in Ohio where there will be target enforcement and increased signages to discourage distracted driving. There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to distracted driving in Ohio.

Statistics on distracted driving

Distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019 alone, according to the NHTSA. This number is up dramatically from 2018, where 2,800 people were killed from distracted driving. The trend is only expected to continue in the years to come, unless stricter distracted driving laws are put into place.
To put these numbers in perspective, every day it’s estimated about eight people in the United States are killed because of distracted driving—about one in five of them weren’t even in a vehicle. On top of that, countless other lives are forever impacted and changed as a result of the deaths.

How can distracted driving affect your car insurance?

Generally speaking, auto insurance premiums have increased 16% since 2011, in direct correlation with increased distracted driving accidents. This means, as long as distracted driving continues to be an issue in the United States, insurance will continue to go up for everyone, even if you’ve never been guilty of it yourself.
If you are found guilty of distracted driving, your car insurance rates will go up even more. While this depends on your specific insurer and state laws, if you’re found texting and driving, the average insurance rate increase is 23%. Depending on the severity of your current offense and past record, this number could increase all the way up to a 45% jump in insurance cost.
Distracted driving is a dangerous practice that will drive your insurance rates up as long as it continues in the United States, but Jerry is always here to help you save.

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