Studies have shown that a very large number of driving fatalities are caused by cell phone use. Motorists use their phones to text or talk while behind the wheel and they are unable to pay attention to the road, thus leading to many serious accidents. The government has taken notice of this issue and has started to take measures in order to deter using the cell phone while driving as much as possible. Car insurance providers have followed suit and they also want to emphasize the dangers of driving and talking on the phone at the same time. Some research suggests that this is as dangerous as driving drunk in terms of distraction. Drunk drivers are certainly penalized by insurers with higher premiums so it is also possible for cell phone tickets to start affecting your car insurance policy.
What are the Results?
The severity of the issue will vary from state to state. In some places, getting caught talking on the phone in the car will still only result in a small fine. In others it is still allowed to use a cell phone with a hands-free set. However, there have been states where the practice has been banned outright. California is one of those states. Right now you are not allowed to use a phone while driving. If you get caught, you will get a ticket that is not very expensive. The price will go up, however, for all subsequent offenses.
California is definitely among the states that have decided to take on the issue of distracted driving. At the moment, this offense does not come with any points on your license, but you do get a conviction on your driving record. The record is what determines insurers to increase the premiums on your car insurance, so right now it is entirely possible for you to experience a higher premium rate in California due to a cell phone ticket.
While the state law is pretty clear, insurers will have their own regulations regarding this issue. Some consider distracted driving very serious and this will be reflected in your premiums, while others tend to not focus that much on it. Your safest choice is to call up your insurer and find out or switch providers.