Car insurance, driver distraction, car safety, and the cost of fixing teched-up cars

This article by Deirdre Fernandez explains why, according to the insurance industry, car insurance rates are on the rise: "Drivers distracted by their smartphones are crashing their cars more often, and those cars are now more expensive to repair because they’re loaded with sensors and devices." Some excerpts: 

TrueMotion is a Boston company that makes an app to track how much drivers use their phones. In its most recent data covering 18,000 users, TrueMotion found that drivers spent 20 percent of every trip on a call, holding their phone, or texting and scrolling through social media. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said fatalities attributed to distracted driving, which includes texting, fiddling with GPS, even eating, increased by 8.8 percent in 2015, the latest year available. Those incidents helped reverse a long-running decline in automobile-related fatality rates. In 2015, the overall number of motor vehicle fatalities in the United States increased 7.2 percent, the largest jump in half a century. * * * [According to industry spokespersons,] [o]ther factors are also driving rates up, particularly the increasing amount of technology packed into cars these days, such as sensors that monitor and measure nearly every aspect of performance. Just fixing a damaged bumper cost $1,705 more in 2016 than it did two years earlier … . A simple windshield replacement that used to cost about $350, now involves higher-quality glass and connections to the car’s sensors, and costs twice as much.

0 thoughts on “Car insurance, driver distraction, car safety, and the cost of fixing teched-up cars

  1. Ward says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t say I blame the car insurance companies. I know rates are calculated, at least in part, based on a driver history and type of vehicle insured. In order to be fair, those who are good, non-distracted drivers who drive cheaper, less high-tech vehicles should be getting lower premiums. But their rates are still probably going up to pay for the negligence and carelessness of others.
    As cynical as this sounds, at least this means personal injury attorneys will stay busy. All these smartphones are certainly making it easier to argue negligence.

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