Distracted Driving accounted for 3,142 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 – which was lower than average with fewer people on the road during business and school shutdowns. However, in 2019, over 28,000 people were injured in crashes by drivers distracted by their cell phones. In our business, we know that distracted drivers cause about 20% of automobile collisions. That statistic is consistent across Idaho.
What you might not know is that the car insurance penalty for distracted driving is up nearly 10,000% since 2011 – and in Idaho, at least a $19 monthly increase for each distracted driving citation. For more on Idaho car insurance for bad drivers, check out research on Zebra.
What’s the local law?
Holding a device while driving - such as texting, talking, mapping. or searching – has been against the law in Idaho since June 2020. It is a primary offense, giving police officers the authority to pull you over and give you a ticket for violating the law, even if you are not guilty of any other traffic violation prior to that.
With a few exceptions, our hands-free law makes holding a cell phone illegal while operating a vehicle. Fines for distracted driving are as follows: For texting, while driving, the fine is $85 for each offense. For inattentive driving, you can face fines of up to $300 with the possibility of up to 90 days in jail.
The cost is huge and far-reaching
It is more expensive than that. It causes an enormous potential for death and injury. For collision repairs, you’re looking at $16,000+ in major auto repair costs for a newer vehicle, or facing a total loss for older vehicles. With the cost of new and used cars, you might be waiting a while to replace your vehicle – not to mention healthcare and injury costs.
If you drive around town, you’ve probably noticed distracted drivers do more than just sneak out phones to talk! It includes texting, eating and drinking, and fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system.
Biggest offenders? Elderly, teens, and young adults
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Should a driver receive two distracted driving violations in three years, insurance companies can consider those violations when establishing insurance rates for a driver. Insurance premiums have been rising to account for that. Your auto insurance premium and the rate are based on many factors, including your age, your driving history, where you live, and more.
People over the age of 65 and between the ages of 18-25 are the most likely to be involved in accidents involving distracted driving. Your credit score plays a factor too – low credit scores mean paying more while higher scores are vice versa.
What to do if someone calls you, but you’re not hands-free?
You are only allowed to make or receive calls only with voice or one-touch commands. So, if you need to call or map a destination, pull over or make sure you’ve paired your phone before driving. The only time you can use handheld devices is both stationary and not located in a public travel lane, or in the event of an emergency.
So if you are a new driver or older, and simply don’t know how to pair your mobile phone to a new or older vehicle, please ask us. We can look at your auto manual to learn how to set up your in-car navigation. Our employees have both iPhones and Android phones to do their jobs – photography repair photos, tracking the shipment of auto parts, customer communication, and so on.
If you are talking or texting while driving, ask them to show you how to connect your mobile phone to your vehicle’s Bluetooth, in-car navigation, entertainment systems, Apple CarPlay, or Google Maps. Most vehicles built after 2014-2015 automatically connect. It’s typically a one-time setup and then a push of a button
Throughout April, Anderson's Autobody will share Idaho statistics, videos, and practical tips on distracted driving – and more importantly how to connect your technology so you aren’t even tempted to sneak in a call! Our goal is to help keep our communities safe.
If you have other ideas to get our older and younger drivers – but ultimately everyone – to follow the law with today’s modern tools, drop us a note in web chat.