Distractions while driving, such as texting, eating, or changing the music, are a leading cause of car accidents. As a result, most states have laws banning the use of cell phones while driving. If you get pulled over and receive a ticket for distracted driving, you may be wondering whether your auto insurance will be affected. The answer is most likely yes, but it does depend on the state you are in, your auto insurance company, and the type of violation.
Drivers who receive a distracted driving ticket will likely see their car insurance rate increase if it shows up in their driving record. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to avoid getting a higher premium once you are cited. For example, in Missouri, the average driver pays $1,347 for their car insurance premium. After a distracted driving ticket, the driver will owe a $200 fine, and two points are added against their driver’s license. As a result, the average insurance rate increases by 14% to $1,536. An important note is that only bus drivers, commercial drivers, and drivers 21 or younger can be cited for using a cell phone while driving. Missouri is only one of two states without a law banning all drivers from being on their cell phones while driving.
Missouri driver’s license points stay on your record for three years. However, if you go for one year without any new points, the points on your license drop by one-third. After two years without any further points, the points drop by one-half before dropping to zero by year three. If you accumulate a total of 4 points in 12 months, the Department of Revenue will send a point accumulation advisory letter because if a total of 8 or more points are accumulated in 18 months, your driver’s license will be suspended. The first suspension is 30 days, a second is 60 days, and a third and each subsequent suspension is 90 days.
Practicing safe driving is the best way to prevent a distracted driving ticket from affecting your insurance rate. However, if you receive a violation, you may have the option to take a driver improvement program or Missouri online traffic school course to stop points from reaching your driving record. Therefore, your insurance company will not know you received a traffic citation. If points have already been added to your driving record before taking a course, speak to your auto insurer and ask if there are special discounts or offers with the completion of a traffic school course.
If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident, we can help. Our St. Louis Distracted Driving Accident attorney will assess your case and discuss your legal options in a free consultation. Call (314) 888-1000 or send us a message online today.