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Everyone knows that traffic tickets can lead to higher auto insurance rates. But did you know that driving while talking on a cell phone is now a ticketable offense in many states?
Taking the time to understand new cell phone laws can help you save money on your car insurance in 2009.
Cell Phone Laws in 2009
Although the laws vary by state, six states and Washington D.C. have laws banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Seventeen states and Washington D.C. have graduated licensing systems banning the use of cell phones by teens. And beginning January 1, 2009, California extended its hand-held cell phone ban to include text messaging.
Greater Restrictions on Novice Drivers
For young drivers, restrictions against cell phone usage while driving are even more stringent. Over a dozen states have enacted special laws forbidding newly licensed drivers from using cell phones -- with or without a hands-free device -- while driving (GHSA). Some states limit legislation to those with learner's permits, and others have restrictions based on age -- sometimes restricting drivers until the age of 21. As auto insurance for newly licensed drivers is already expensive, following the rules at a young age is a great way to keep auto insurance premiums low.
Distracted Driving is Hazardous Driving
Someone talking on a phone is four times as likely to be involved in an auto accident. In fact, studies have shown that talking on a cell phone while driving is just as hazardous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Drivers who divide their attention between driving and cell phones have been shown to be far and away the most likely group to be involved in automobile accidents. So, as accidents lead to higher auto insurance rates, it pays to keep both eyes on the road at all times.
Cell Phone Infractions Can Increase Car Insurance Rates
If you're ticketed for cell phone use while driving, chances are your car insurance rates will increase. If you're tagged for another violation along with it, like speeding, your driving record could catch a double whammy. Too many tickets on your driving record will increase your car insurance rates and may result in your auto insurance company non-renewing your policy.
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