The Impact of Texting While Driving on Your Car Insurance (And 5 Apps to Help You Stop)
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UPDATED: Feb 9, 2022
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Texting while driving is dangerous.
You already know this, whether through common sense or because you’ve been repeatedly warned by the advertisements and public service announcements that when people use their cell phones while driving, it is considered distracted driving.
Here’s the thing, though: texting while driving (TWD) is also really convenient, especially since it seems like you’re always on the go, and there’s always someone else who needs something from you right in the current moment.
It’s a common misconception that mainly only teen drivers are guilty of being on their mobile phones while on the road, but that’s not so. Incoming texts are hard to resist for anyone, not just a teenage driver.
There’s another risk you may not have considered, and that’s the potential for TWD to wreak havoc on your car insurance premium.
Why Your Insurance Company Hates It When You Text Behind the Wheel
Your insurance rate is based on a complex formula that tries to take into consideration any number of variables: driving history, miles driven, car make and model, and more.
Ultimately, however, it all boils down to one thing: the more likely you are to get in a wreck, the more you’ll pay – and, according to industry estimates, TWD makes you 23 times more likely to get into a collision.
It makes sense, then, that your insurance company wouldn’t want you responding to incoming text messages while you’re behind the wheel.
To “encourage” you to wait until you get to your destination to send that text, they’ll hike up your rate if you get busted for cell phone usage.
Just bad will you feel it in your pocketbook if your insurance company finds out you’ve been texting?
It’s hard to say, as the penalty can vary from place to place – but think about what they’d charge you if you had a history of drinking and driving. It’s not just the rate increase that is concerning, but the distracted driving crashes. The dangers of texting while driving can quite literally result in your or someone else’s death.
Then think about how some states, like Utah, lump TWD in the same “inherently reckless” category as drinking while driving. A drunk driver is as reckless as a driver who texts, it is that serious.
List of Available Apps
|Rank||App to Prevent Texting and Driving||iOS / Android*|
|1||DriveOFF||Y / Y|
|2||DriveMode||Y / Y|
|3||TextBuster||N / Y|
|4||DriveScribe||Y / Y|
|5||Canary||Y / Y|
|6||Cellcontrol||Y / Y|
|7||Drive Safe Mode||Y / Y|
|8||Live2Txt||N / Y|
*Y = Yes is available on operating system. N = Not available.
Why There’s Hope (and How to Use Your Phone to Actually Make You Safer When You Drive)
For many texters, getting those messages out can seem like an addiction.
So, instead of expecting them to just go cold turkey, why not use that phone for a better purpose?
Below are 5 apps that you can use to stop texting behind the wheel – without relying on willpower. Even experienced drivers who know not to text but still experience the temptation should consider these tools, as their purpose is to help you drive safely.
DriveScribe (free, Android and iOS) is an app that blocks all emails, texts, and phone calls when you’re driving.
Even better, it will respond to whoever tried to contact you, letting them know that you’re not available at the moment.
This automatically eliminates one of the biggest reasons why most people TWD – the need to let other people know you got their text.
Now, they know you’re not just blowing them off – and you can still get back to them, after you’ve gotten (safely) to your destination.
The app is more than just a distraction-blocker, however.
It also tracks your speed and driving habits, and will even rewards you for being a safe driver – you get points for safe driving that you can exchange for gift cards.
This app (free, available for Android only) is able to tell when you hit 10 mph – and, as soon as you do, it shuts off all notifications.
Think you’ll still sneak a glance at your phone every now and then, just to see if you’ve missed something?
DriveOFF is one step ahead – it displays a static screensaver, so you’ll have to wait until you’re safely parked to see how badly your friends missed you.
Canary (No Longer Available As of 2019)
Got kids that drive? TWD has to concern you, given how attached most teens are to their phones.
With Canary (free, Android and iOS), you can not only stop their texting – you can also get info on how fast they’re driving, where they’re going, and more.
Your teens might hate it that they can’t pull a fast one on you – but at least you got them home safe.
TxtShield ($1.99, Android only) is another app that shuts down all texting once the car’s in motion.
If a passenger wants to send some texts, that’s fine – provided they can pass the attention verification test.
Waze isn’t a text-blocking app, but it has another useful function.
Since many texts are of the “Where are you?” variety, Waze allows you to send friends real-time info on where you are and how long it’ll take you to get to them.
By shutting down one of the most common texting situations before it starts, Waze makes it easier to throw your phone in the passenger seat without a second thought.
Just Stop Texting
Whatever you ultimately do to stop texting, the important thing is that you quit.
If the costs don’t scare you off, consider this: authorities estimate that as many as 6,000 fatalities are caused by texting drivers every year.
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