Does a Distracted Driving Ticket Affect Insurance?
Distracted driving increases the risk of an accident by taking a driver’s eyes, hands, and/or mind off the task of driving. To cut down on distracted driving risks, nearly all 50 states have implemented laws against texting and driving, one of the most common types of distracted driving.
Under Florida law, law enforcement can issue citations to drivers who are found texting while driving. Drivers in Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas who receive tickets for texting are likely to wonder if a distracted driving ticket affects insurance. Here, lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau go over the penalties of a texting while driving ticket, including how it may affect insurance rates.
Florida’s Put it Down Campaign
In 2019 Florida launched the Put it Down: Focus on Driving campaign to educate drivers across the state about the dangers of distracted driving. Under this campaign, the Wireless Communications While Driving Law was introduced. This law makes it illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, or symbols into a wireless communication device to text, email or instant message. The law further allows law enforcement to stop motorists and issue citations for texting while driving.
Penalties of a Texting While Driving Ticket
Penalties for a texting while driving ticket vary based on whether or not the driver has received prior citations, and where the citation is issued.
Part of the Wireless Communications While Driving Law prohibits using a wireless device in a hands-on manner while in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. If a driver is ticketed while texting in one of these areas, their penalties will include a moving traffic violation with a base $60 fine, and three points assessed against their driver’s license. In all other areas, texting while driving penalties are as follows:
- First offense - Non-moving violation with a base $30 fine, no points assessed against the driving license
- Second offense (within five years) - Moving violation with a base $60 fine and three points assessed against the driver’s license
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up?
Whether or not insurance rates go up after a texting while driving ticket depends on the insurance company, and the laws within the driver’s state. If a ticket adds points to a driver’s license, as is the case with a second-offense texting while driving ticket in Florida, or a first-time offense within a school or work zone, insurance rates are likely to go up. Even if drivers are issued with a first time citation that is not recorded as a moving violation, insurance rates may increase if drivers lose certain insurance privileges, such as being classified as a safe driver.
According to Insurance.com, Daytona Beach drivers can expect some of the most significant insurance rate increases after a texting ticket. They report that the average insurance rate of a Florida driver with a clean ticket is $2,382, while the average insurance rate for a Florida driver after a texting ticket is $3,029, which is a 27 percent increase.
If you would like more information about Florida’s distracted driving laws, or how a citation can affect your insurance rates, lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau would be happy to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a personal consultation with a member of our legal team, send us a message online, or call (386) 258-7313.