Press Club

Legal Review: Watch Your Texting! Your Insurance Rates Might Soon Skyrocket

By criminal defense attorney Thomas Soldan, who is barred and practices in the state of Virginia, with Price Benowitz LLP. Soldan has focused his practice on reckless driving, DUI/DWI, traffic, and personal injury litigation.

Insurance companies are now tracking how their insured are using their cell phones and will either penalize them or reward them based on their findings.

Using technology based on the phone’s accelerometer, which measures its forward motion, and gyroscope, which tracks its navigation, companies such as Allstate can discover whether the driver is moving, whether the phone is unlocked, and whether they were using an app. This information can be tracked only if the driver downloads the app and keeps the phone off airplane mode.

Allstate is considering whether this information on a driver’s phone usage should determine what their insurance rates should be. Arity, a subsidiary of Allstate, determined, based on an analysis of data of hundreds of thousands of Allstate customers and 160 million trips, that drivers who drive while using their phones are indeed more dangerous.

Using this research, they found that distracted drivers get in more accidents and those accidents are more severe. In addition, these drivers cost insurance companies up to 160 percent more than those drivers who are not distracted. Before this technology goes into effect it will need approval from state insurance offices.

Technology already exists to help prevent distracted driving. For instance, the Cellcontrol app begins working as soon as the driver sits in the driver’s seat. It uses a black box a person puts in the center of the car’s windshield and using Bluetooth, blocks the driver’s cell phone from working.

It splits the car’s seats into different areas and recognizes the driver’s area, while allowing phones to work in all other spaces, where passengers sit. In addition, it sends an immediate response if the blocked phone gets a call or a text, explaining why the call or text is not being answered.

“This new technology could be a great tool for insurance companies to promote safe driving,” said Thomas Soldan, a personal injury lawyer. “It could really help promote safe driving and help determine fault after an accident. Working with lawyer who is experienced with dealing with insurance companies is invaluable to protecting the rights of drivers.”

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