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The Upsetting Reason Behind Increasing Car Insurance Rates

Have you received a surprising car insurance quote recently? While rates aren’t necessarily increasing for each individual, as they are based on many personal factors, we do know that car insurance rates are trending upward on average. In fact, the nationwide average car insurance premium has climbed by 16 percent since 2011, to $926 per person.

The reason behind the increase seems simple (though depressing) at first: More than 40,000 people died in car accidents last year, an increase of 14 percent since 2014. But why are more car accidents occurring? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and insurance companies, blame something called “distracted driving”.

“Distracted driving” can refer to driving while performing any other non-essential task. Drivers sometimes adjust the radio, discipline children in the backseat, eat, or even apply makeup. But in recent years, the most common source of distracted driving is texting on a cell phone.

And if you think it’s just teenage drivers engaging in this behavior, you’d be wrong. According to State Farm statistics, 36 percent of all drivers text and driving when they’re involved in an accident, it’s difficult to pin down the drivers who are doing it. The bottom line is that we all pay higher insurance rates due to the misdeeds of about one-third of drivers.

Hopefully, drivers will soon catch on to how dangerous this behavior really is. We’re already seeing plenty of public-service campaigns aimed at reducing distracted driving. But until accident rates decrease, and especially as long as they’re increasing, we’re likely to see climbing car insurance rates as well.

The bottom line: Don’t text and drive. And if you can’t resist the urge, turn off your phone, put it in the trunk, or install an app that won’t allow you to use the phone while the car is in motion. When drivers use their cell phones, we all pay; sometimes with higher car insurance, but at other times with our lives.

Stats from NBC News: