OAIN: Florida Texting Bill Carries Auto Insurance Implications

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Motorists could get six points added to their records for texting before a crash if a bill in the state Senate is signed into law, reports Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN).

Florida senators will likely have a chance this session to vote on a statewide ban on texting while driving that could ultimately have significant financial repercussions for drivers who violate the ban, according to Online Auto Insurance News.

The bill—which has already been approved by three of the four committees that need to give it the OK before it heads to the full Senate—would make texting on a cell phone from behind the wheel punishable by a small fine for a first offense.

But for a second offense or for any instance in which texting is involved in an accident, offending motorists will have a handful of violation points added to their record. That development could lead to higher prices for coverage and even the need to buy car insurance for high risk drivers if they already have already accumulated a significant number of points.

Whether a conviction of texting while driving impacts coverage prices depends on the state in which the offending motorist lives.

In states like California and Pennsylvania, people caught texting while driving only have to pay a fine, and their insurers usually don’t find out about it because it doesn’t go on their driving record as a moving violation.

But if the Florida bill is ultimately signed into law, motorists who violate the ban more than once would get three points added to their record, which is the standard for most moving violations.

If any drivers are involved in an accident while texting, regardless of whether they have any prior texting violations, they will get six points added to their records. And that’s information insurance companies would be able to see when determining how much to charge for coverage.

As the legislation is currently written, cell phone billing records would be admissible evidence that could be used to determine whether a driver was texting at the time of the crash.

Source: http://floridasenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/0416

For an idea of how serious a six-point violation is, consider the fact that racking up 12 points in 12 months leads to a 30-day license suspension.

For more information on this and other insurance issues, go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/high-risk/ to find informative resource pages and a helpful rate-comparison generator that can be used to track down low rates quickly.

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Benjamin Zitney
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