Texting and Driving
The use of cell phones while driving has resulted in an increase in distracted driving accidents nationwide. Cell phones have become an indispensable part of our lives, but studies have shown that any use of a cell phone to read, write or send messages while operating a motor vehicle is more dangerous than driving under the influence (DUI).
In particular, texting and driving is six times more likely to result in an accident than drunk driving. Texting while driving increases time spent being distracted from the road by 400%. One out of every four car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting and driving. Teen drivers are four times more likely to have an accident or near-accident when using a cell phone than adult drivers. And 21% of fatal accidents involving teen drivers were caused by cell phone distractions.
You can understand why states are enacting distracted driving laws and instituting penalties for texting while driving. One of the more recent laws of this type took effect July 23, 2017 in the state of Washington. The Washington state legislation puts the use of electronics while driving under the category of DUI, citing drivers for DUI-E (driving under the influence of electronics). Violating laws prohibiting or limiting the use of electronics or cell phones while driving can add points to your driving record. Getting multiple citations for these offenses, or having additional motor vehicle violations on your record, collectively may result in suspension of your drivers license. This would require you to obtain SR22 Insurance or Non Owner SR22 Insurance for license reinstatement.
State Distracted Driving Laws
Many states have responded to the dangers of distracted driving by passing traffic laws banning or limiting the use of cell phones while driving, especially by drivers under the age of 20. No state has banned all cell phone use for every category of driver, but 38 states ban it for inexperienced drivers and 20 states prohibit it for school bus drivers. Fifteen states have instituted primary enforcement laws against using hand held cell phones while driving. This means that an officer may pull over and ticket a driver if they are observed using a hand held cell phone, even if no other traffic offense took place. Currently, 47 states ban text messaging while driving for all drivers, with all but four of those states having primary enforcement prohibiting texting and driving. In some states, using a cell phone while driving is a secondary offense. This means an officer has to witness and pull a driver over for another offense, and if they are found to have violated the secondary offense, they can be ticketed for that also.
For more information on each state’s distracted driving laws regarding cell phone use while driving, visit the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) website.
Information related to this topic can be found on these pages of our website:
- DUI-E Washington Law
- SR22 DUI Insurance
- Non Owner SR22 vs SR22 Insurance
- How to get lower insurance rates
- States we offer SR22
Penalties for the use of cell phones or other electronics while driving can include fines, points against your driving record, or for repeat offenders even jail time. If you cause an accident as a result of distracted driving, you risk being cited for additional, more serious offenses such as reckless driving. Depending on your driving record, a distracted driving offense could result in license suspension, requiring you to carry SR22 insurance.
If your license has been suspended after a distracted driving violation, talk with a licensed UltraCar Insurance agent about license reinstatement with an SR22 insurance filing or a non owner SR22 insurance filing in your state.