Would $1,540 stop you from texting?

Connecticut is the latest state to report texting and cellphone violations to insurance companies -- and that could mean higher rates for phone scofflaws.

By MSN Money Partner May 8, 2013 1:21PM
This post comes from Des Toups of CarInsurance.com.

Hey, Connecticut, maybe this will get your attention.

Traffic stops, fines and senseless accidents weren’t enough. Now state lawmakers want to tell your insurance company about texting tickets and cellphone violations.


“When someone gets hit in the pocketbook, that's when you remember it," Rep. Antonio "Tony" Guerrera, co-chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee, told The Associated Press.


Speeding ticket © CorbisLike most states, Connecticut largely gives a pass to drivers caught violating the state’s ban on handheld cellphone use and on texting. Drivers pay a fine of up to $300 and go on their merry (distracted) way.


The proposal before Connecticut lawmakers would make these moving violations, raise the maximum fine to $400 and make the offense reportable to the state department of motor vehicles, where it becomes part of a driver’s motor vehicle record and  shared with insurers -- who use it to decide how much to charge you.


Every insurer treats tickets differently -- ask to see your “surcharge schedule” -- but here’s an example of the extra costs a serial texter might face.


John is 24 and lives in Canaan, where he drives a 2005 Honda Accord with 50/100/50 liability coverage only. With no tickets, he’d pay about $864 a year if he shopped around and bought the cheapest policy he found. With two moving violations (we chose two speeding tickets) he would pay $1,072.


And he’d pay that extra $208 every year that his insurance company rates on those incidents, usually three years but sometimes as long as five.


The surcharges affect comprehensive and collision coverage, too. John’s rates with full coverage and no tickets were $1,468 a year. With two moving violations, he would pay $1,848.


That’s $380 a year extra for at least three years, on top of the $400 fine.


Is $1,540 a big enough wake-up call?


Twelve other states, plus Washington, D.C., assign points for texting violations. Most insurance companies do not raise rates for a single minor traffic infraction, but a speeding ticket and a texting conviction during the same rating period could be very costly, especially to younger drivers who already pay far more than others for coverage.


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59Comments
May 8, 2013 8:05PM
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I'm originally from CT. and always thought it was a screwed up state,but cudos for this move.Any moron caught texting and driving should have their license revoked,3 months first offense,1 year second offense,permenately third offense, and if you're proven to have killed someone in an accident caused by you texting and driving, automatic vehicular homicide.This country badly needs to get "stupid" off of the roads.
May 8, 2013 7:53PM
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Got behind an eighteen wheeler gravel truck on I-35 last week.  The guy was all over the road and off the road for miles.  I finally passed him and he was still texting.  The people who text and drive are brainless!  Maybe just maybe a hefty fine will hit them where it hurts before they hurt someone else.
May 8, 2013 8:52PM
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Texting violations should carry the same penalty as an Extreme DUI. Minimum loss of license for one year, $10,000 in fines and penalities.
May 8, 2013 10:43PM
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Hell yeah, pass that law all over the country. There is no reason why anyone should be texting and driving at the same time. None. Make the call or get your **** off the road. The highway is not the place to be texting about your stupid life.
May 8, 2013 9:34PM
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I was moving from the coast to the mountains in North Carolina. My husband and I went up country several times looking for a home to buy. I went one time by myself, he couldn't come. He said take the gun, you might need it. I said NO, I don't need that thing, but it went into the car with me. Going through Concord, N.C. ,  3 lane traffic each way, packed and everyone NOT driving 65 miles an hour, more like 70 - 80 mph, bumper to bumper.  I saw 2 cars off to the right coming down the ramp but I was unable to move, due to the overcrowded, moving fast cars.  So I went down the road and low and behold a red BMW gets in front of my 1991 Toyota truck and he slams on brakes. I slam on mine, he does it several more times and I decide to move away from the crazy. I get into the middle lane and he moves over and does the same thing. I move to the far left inside lane and he moves. I finally move back to the middle lane and then the far right lane and finally off onto the side of the road. The man moved in front of me each time and slammed on breaks in front of me.  He moved off the road  a little ways up from my truck and gets out and walks towards me, with his hand stuck into the back of his pants.  This man was black with a shaved head and very big.  I got out of my truck, picked up my husbands gun and pointed it right at him. He moved towards me until he saw my gun. Nothing was said but I guess he decided not to push it and got back into his car and left. Now here is a 60 yrs. white female, not knowing what the heck was going on, scared to death and having to point a gun at someone I didn't know or want to know.  It was crazy.  But one thing I did know, I would have pulled the trigger and he knew it.  This world has changed and not for the better.  I actually believe that someone that hit someone while using a cell phone would leave the scene of an accident. I now have a web-cam video on my car because people aren't honest anymore and it protects me and what actually goes on in an accident.
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Texting is just as dangerous as DUI.  I see this behavior EVERY day at highway speeds.

"Smart" phones make people stupid.

May 9, 2013 2:37AM
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Tired of these self centered idiots continuously texting and texting with total disregard for anyone around them. Its like who's it all about? Talk about being a egoist, the people who do this are just @holes.
May 8, 2013 9:30PM
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in a 18 wheeler the fine is $2750.00 been that way for about a year I think.
May 8, 2013 9:16PM
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I think this is a great idea.  Unfortunately young people just can't put their cellphones down.  I live in North Carolina and you won't believe what happened. On a 4 lane highway going through town. Behind a man who is driving OK, then goes slow, then goes fast and does this for a few minutes. I decide to get away from him and go around him.  He finally comes to a full stop with his knees touching the steering wheel and stopped completed texting away, right in the middle of the road.  Craziest thing I've ever seen.  I wonder how long its going to take before he wrecks his car and/or hurts someone, maybe a kid.  Maybe if it cost them big bucks for a long time, they will wise up and drive properly.  Another thing that should be addressed before someone gets their driving license is:  1) how to merge into a highway (you just don't come out regardless of the traffic in the road; they act like they should be the only one of the road) 2) side roads, who has right away when someone is moving from the main road to the side road; guess what, the person moving from the main highway onto the side road, not the other way around. Have a safe day.
May 9, 2013 12:08AM
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... great law. Problem is people also get in accidents just checking a text message. Phones that automatically turn texting off in a moving vehicle would be good. Too much for you? How about if it just turns the notifications off. Food for thought.

May 9, 2013 7:24AM
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Very simple solution to all this.  Have the computer in the car disable the phone unless the car is in park.  They can't drive around in park.  Not much will stop most of these idiots.  If you fine a drug addict, it doesn't cure him.  These people are addicted to these stupid phones.  Watch them.  They just can't put them down.  They are constantly looking at them and playing with them.  I was behind a guy on the highway and he was doing 40 m.p.h.  As I passed him, I noticed he was texting/calling someone.  I blew the horn at him and he threw his phone in the passengers seat and picked up speed.  My punishment for these people would be much stronger.  They would have a five thousand dollar fine and 30 days in jail for a first offense.  If you are caught a second time, you would be going to jail for a year.  These people have the potential to kill someone.  You would be saving someones life.  There were probably more people killed because of this than with guns.  These people are a danger to society.  Get them off the road.
May 9, 2013 7:37AM
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great idea....wait til you get home to text. mankind survived somehow before texting
May 9, 2013 3:48AM
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Is $1,540 a big enough wake-up call? It is a lesson to hopefully prevent killing or maiming someone and paying a lifetime of lawsuits. Driving is a full time activity with eyes on the road and not on your phone texting like a fool.
May 9, 2013 7:43AM
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His deductibles are too low. Plus he's a kid who cares? How does it effect real working FAMILY people. They have the highest deductibles and the most financial load. Kids always do stupid stuff.
May 9, 2013 11:31AM
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I agree. A woman texting almost killed my son and I. I had to drive my Mustang off the road to avoid being hit by her. She missed my car by 3" and that was with me already off of the road as far as I could get and hitting the horn the whole time.
May 9, 2013 9:50AM
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Great idea..., but why not take the idiot's license away as well?  One year for a first offence, forever if they're caught doing it again.  What's with this "vital need" to constantly communicate?  Ten years ago this technology didn't exist, and people managed to live their lives without constantly communicating with everyone they ever met.  It's not like the morons have anything to say...
May 9, 2013 11:29AM
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Texting while driving immediately identifies you as an idiot and should be punished severely.
May 8, 2013 10:04PM
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864 bucks for just liability, Id would be moving in a heart beat. Forget the rest of the article
May 9, 2013 12:02PM
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EXCELLENT NEWS. Sorry to all Texters behind the wheel but you do put many others at risk of danger and a crash when you text behind the wheel. I wish Colorado would the same as well as take down more texters behind the wheel!

 

CO Police fail the public when they allow texters kust drive on by!

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