APCI - American Property Casualty Insurance Association

04/03/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/03/2024 08:13

Insurers Provide Tips to Help Drivers Eliminate Distraction and Reduce Insurance Costs

CHICAGO, IL- Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), the world's largest telematics service provider, has found a 23 percent surge in distraction since 2020. CMT estimates that this increase in distracted driving caused an additional 420,000 crashes, 1,000 fatalities, and $10 billion in damages to the US economy in 2022. CMT researchers also found that of all the drivers who crashed, 34 percent interacted with their phones within the minute before the crash.

This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) is encouraging drivers to check with their auto insurer about how "opting-in" to telematics or usage-based insurance (UBI) products can help them put the phone down while behind the wheel, improve their safe driving habits, and save on their auto insurance costs.

"Dangerous driving behaviors, such as distracted driving, result in hundreds of thousands of needless crashes. Insurance telematic programs offer drivers an opportunity to install a telematics device in their vehicle, or download a smart phone app, that uses real-time information to document driving performance and helps them improve behaviors like distraction and hard breaking incidents," said Robert Passmore, APCIA department vice president of personal lines. "In both scenarios, the driver is fully aware that the data is being collected because they install the device or smartphone app themselves and must provide their consent to participate in the program."

Distracted-related and all crashes are growing more and more costly and contribute to the rise in auto insurance costs that all drivers are experiencing. In recent years, the costs of parts and repairs that auto insurance pays for have been rising. This is exacerbated by record inflation trends, an increase in dangerous driving behaviors, legal system abuse, and in some states, regulatory uncertainty.

In just the last year:

  • Auto insurance claim losses and expenses spiked to more than $1.12 for every $1 in premium.
  • The cost of motor vehicle parts has increased by 39.8 percent, and the cost of motor vehicle repairs by 21.3 percent.
  • Used car values have increased by 38.8 percent over the last five years, which impacts the cost of settling claims for total loss vehicles.

These factors drive everyone's auto insurance costs higher than before. While there is little that individual drivers can do about economic factors such as inflation, they can reduce their insurance costs by avoiding dangerous driving behaviors such as distracted driving.

"For insurers, it is critical that drivers are aware of their driving habits and how to improve them," continued Passmore. "By drivers 'opting-in' to telematic programs offered by their insurer, they can track their individual driving performance and improve their safe driving behaviors behind the wheel."

Additional tips to help drivers avoid distracted driving include:

  • Set your smartphone to "Do Not Disturb" while behind the wheel.
  • Program your GPS/navigation prior to hitting the road.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, or doing anything that diverts your eyes and attention from the roadway.