Auto insurance

eDUI tickets can bump your insurance costs

Tuesday, February 6, 2018by  Jon Osterberg

A young woman holds a cell phone to her ear while drivingWith Washington's new distracted-driving law past its grace period, violators' tickets now affect their insurance rates, just like any other moving violation.

Younger drivers in particular might want to pay close attention, considering their responses in local surveys. A March 2017 SurveyUSA poll of 847 Washington females (males weren’t surveyed) age 16-34 shows 64% answer a ringing phone, and 48% read incoming texts while behind the wheel. An earlier poll by the firm conducted out of Portland revealed that of all drivers age 18-34, male and female, 65% drive distracted regularly or occasionally.

Drivers pulled over for using any electronic device now get ticketed $134 for a first offense and $234 for a second offense. The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act (often called eDUI for short) prohibits holding electronic devices while moving and also when stopped at a light or stop sign.

Police submit eDUI infractions, which go on your motor vehicle report (MVR). The Department of Licensing shares MVRs with insurance companies, which can use records of traffic accidents and violations to help calculate insurance rates.

PEMCO classifies eDUI tickets as major violations – for example, more serious than speeding or running a red light, and not as severe as a hit-and-run. Regardless, put the phone down. It's not worth the risk to your health or your finances.

More key findings from SurveyUSA's March 2017 poll:

  • 96% agree that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, yet…

  • the same amount leave their phones on while driving

  • 59% use a phone when stopped at a red light

  • 51% make phone calls

  • 34% send text messages

  • 12% look at social media, and 8% post.

A driver checks social media on her laptop while stopped at a red lightHere's what would make them stop:

  • 98% said they'd stop if a passenger asked them to put the phone down

  • 91% if they thought they'd get a $136 ticket

  • 89% to model good behavior for children

  • 66% if they knew friends and family disapproved.

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