57% of Teens Confess to Texting Behind the Wheel

Posted & filed under distracted driving, Teen Drivers.

In a poll carried out by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance, 57% of teens surveyed admitted that they sometimes send text messages while driving. Surprisingly, in the same survey, 63% of teens said that texting and driving is likely to cause an accident, while 83% agreed that drinking and driving is likely to cause an accident. These numbers from the 2012 survey are very similar to the results of the 2010 survey, which may indicate that communication about the real dangers of texting and driving has been largely ineffective. In the past two years, many academic studies have concluded that texting and driving is statistically just as dangerous as drinking and driving. But the survey responses indicate that teens still see texting and driving as slightly less dangerous than drinking and driving.

The poll also found that 46% of parents and teens talk about driving quite a bit before teen drivers get their license, but this communication decreases by almost 50% once teens have their license. This decline in communication is a cause for concern, because statistics show that new drivers have the highest likelihood of accidents during their first year of independent driving. Parents and teens are encouraged to maintain a dialog about safe driving and how to avoid driving while distracted.

The survey polled more than 650 U.S. teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17. 55% teen respondents currently had drivers license and the other 45% either have a learning permit or intend to get one as soon as they are able.

New Washington law protects insurance rates for car lenders

Posted & filed under Washington Car Insurance.

A new law in Washington makes it easier for automobile owners to rent or lend their vehicle to car-sharing services. Previously, drivers who allowed their car to be used in car-sharing or car-lending programs were subject to having their car insurance revoked. Under the new law, the car-sharing service must assume insurance liability for the vehicles while they are lent or rented out.

People on both sides of the issue praised the new law. Insurance agents are better protected against unexpected claims resulting from car-sharing services, and vehicle owners no longer have to worry about insurance problems if they participate in a car-renting or sharing program.

In Washington and other states, it’s becoming common for drivers with lower insurance premiums to rent or lend their car to other drivers through car-sharing programs. The drivers who borrow these vehicles may have significant insurance risk. The new law reduces risk for insurance companies, who were previously exposed to the possibility of high-risk drivers causing claims on low-risk policies.

Pennsylvania teens participate in safe driving competition

Posted & filed under Pennsylvania Car Insurance, Teen Drivers.

Teenagers from Adam and York County in Pennsylvania took part in the 21st Annual York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth. The test grills students on 45 different skill areas, encompassing driving, written tests, and perception.

Cavan Irvine, a student from Northeastern High School, won the competition, and was awarded a $2,500 educational scholarship. He will now enter the state-wide competition, which boasts a top prize of a $5,000 scholarship.

Participants in the contest were recommended by teachers and driving instructors based on their prowess behind the wheel.  The event is organized by the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, whose mission includes making Pennsylvania’s roads safer for all drivers.

Florida company already planning to scam HB 119?

Posted & filed under Car Insurance, Florida Car Insurance, Insurance Fraud.

Florida’s HB 119 intends to reduce car insurance fraud by reducing the maximum amount of money for non-emergency medical procedures. Florida, which has a mandatory no-fault requirement, leads the nation in phony car accidents, which are undertaken by individuals seeking to capitalize on their own or other drivers’ mandatory no-fault car insurance.

HB 119 is still being debated in the Florida legislature, but one company may already be planning to skirt the new law. Medical on Demand Staffing recently distributed advertisements to Tampa area chiropractors, offering to connect them to doctors who can quality an accident as an emergency, sometimes even if it was previously classified as non-emergency. Under HB 119, the mandatory no-fault coverage for emergency accidents is $10,000, but the maximum amount for non-emergency accidents is $2,500. The advertisements boldly proclaim “Don’t miss out on your $7,500” and some have said the ads suggest the company is intending to commit insurance fraud. Representatives of Medical on Demand Staffing refute these accusations, arguing that their doctors are qualified to classify injuries as emergency or non-emergency and that there’s no reason to believe those doctors would make false classifications.

Unfortunately for Florida, its continued problems with car insurance fraud, as well as its high auto theft rates, only increase the cost of Florida car insurance. Here’s hoping HB 119 can put a dent in the fraud.

Red-light camera tickets challenged in court

Posted & filed under Car Insurance.

Automated cameras at intersections are very common these days in most states. These cameras monitor traffic and usually record the license plate of vehicles that violate traffic laws. Drivers who are guilty of this offense often don’t even realize they’ve done anything wrong until they receive a ticket in the mail several days later.

Opponents of the cameras argue that the cameras are an invasion of privacy, and an unnecessary intrusion whose only purpose is to generate revenue from traffic tickets. Supporters maintain that the cameras increase safety. And indeed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says such cameras are responsible for a 24% reduction in red-light fatalities. The IIHS studied intersection fatalities in 14 U.S. metropolitan areas, and compared fatalities before and after the cameras went up.

But several recent developments may change the way traffic light cameras are used, and the outcome may vary drastically from one state to another. Currently, 24 states use intersection cameras, while nine states have taken the complete opposite approach by banning them. In Washington, the state Supreme Court ruled that municipalities cannot pass ballot measures to ban red-light cameras. In Pasco County, Florida, Judge Anne Wansboro recently ruled that Florida’s red-light camera law is unconstitutional. County officials are appealing Judge Wansboro’s decision.