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Cellphone Users Driving Up Accident Numbers and Your Insurance Costs

Why, you might ask, in an age when cars and highways are designed to be so much safer, are traffic accidents increasing? Economists are quick to cite the end of the Great Recession and the abundance of inexpensive fuel as reasons there are more cars on the road. However, do more cars necessarily translate to more accidents? Brad Tuttle, writing for TIME.com this spring, lays the blame elsewhere: drivers’ cellphone use.

Mr. Tuttle starts with a disturbing statistic: Traffic fatalities in the United States hit 40,200 in 2016, a 14 percent increase since 2014. In response, auto insurers are raising premiums. In Massachusetts, premium increases are expected to range from three to six percent, after six to nine percent increases just last year. Insurers in North Carolina are requesting average hikes of 13.8 percent. Therefore, the roads are more dangerous and driving is more expensive. But is it all due to cellphone use?

Anyone who spends time among teenagers can probably supply anecdotal evidence to support the assertion that teens devote inordinate attention to their phones, and statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirm what we instinctively know: 10 percent of drivers ages 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were distracted behind the wheel.

It’s also true that accidents are more expensive these days. When a collision occurs, one or more of a car’s high-tech features can be damaged, making repairs very expensive. The cost of healthcare has also increased dramatically, so personal injuries are much more expensive to treat.

At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we’re concerned about safety. We urge all drivers to do their part to keep the roads safer, and that starts with keeping our eyes and our minds on the road. Parents of teenagers cannot overstress the importance of eliminating distractions. Finally, if you haven’t reviewed your auto insurance policy in a couple of years, speak to your agent. Make sure you have enough liability coverage and underinsured motorist coverage in the event of a serious accident.

If you have been hurt in an auto accident in Virginia, North Carolina or South Carolina, you can trust Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to fight for your rights. Call us at (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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