Online Auto Insurance: Idaho, W.Va. Drivers Should Be Aware of Texting Bans

The West Virginia ban has insurance implications, while violations of the Idaho ban should not affect coverage rates.

Online PR News – 02-July-2012 – Charleston, West Virginia – Two laws that recently went into effect in West Virginia and Idaho prohibit texting behind the wheel but institute different penalties for offenders, highlighting the awareness drivers there should have about laws governing texting bans in their state, according to the Online Auto Insurance.

The West Virginia law has implications on the price of car insurance for teens, the age group that research strongly links to distractions behind the wheel like texting, and other age groups that get multiple citations for violating the ban.

In West Virginia, SB 211 restricts texting behind the wheel, classifying it as a primary offense, while using a device without hand-free equipment is a secondary offense.

First-time offenders have to pay a $100 fine. But by a third offense, violators face a $300 fine and three points recorded on their driving record that insurers can view as cause to raise their rates on a policyholder.

Idaho’s law, however, specifically states that the offense is not a moving violation, so insurers cannot classify such infractions as reason to raise premiums. An accident caused by distracted driving however, will still likely result in a rate increase.

SB 1274 goes into effect on July in Idaho, where texting violators now face an $85 fine. Violation of the texting ban will be considered a primary offense, meaning officers will be allowed to pull over and cite drivers they suspect of violating the law, while secondary offenses only allow officers to pull over drivers and cite them in addition to another violation.

OAI recommends that teenagers avoid texting behind the wheel at all times. The West Virginia texting prohibition carries heavier consequences for their coverage costs than the Idaho prohibition.

Repeat offenders in West Virginia will have points recorded against their driving record that could lead to higher premiums from their insurer. And since teenagers are already charged relatively higher rates, young repeat violators can expect their premiums to hit sky-high levels.

SB 211 went into effect on June 8. Both SB 1274 and SB 211 were finalized by their respective state governors in early April.

Currently, 39 states ban all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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