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Insurance rates can be affected by smartphone use

In Pennsylvania, the threat posed by texting and driving is all too real. Distracted driving due to smartphone use can dramatically escalate the risk of a dangerous car accident, and insurance companies are taking the risk into account. One unit of a major insurance company is now tracking smartphone use inside the car for rate setting purposes, based on the level and type of use the phone has.

The technology uses the gyroscope and accelerometer inside the smartphone to assess whether the device is being moved in a hand or left lying flat. The software can also track app usage and whether the phone is unlocked. Insurance giant Allstate said that it may use the software to set insurance rates and promoted it as a means of encouraging safe drivers. While testing the software, 160 million trips by thousands of drivers were assessed. The results indicated what research has already shown - drivers using their phones on the road can put others at risk.

The company that developed the technology says that smartphone usage while driving is a direct measurement of insurance risk. The report it issued claimed that distracted drivers are 160 percent more expensive to insurers than drivers that do not use their phones while driving. Smartphone users while behind the wheel are more likely to have a car crash, and the crashes themselves are also more likely to be severe and costly.

People who have been injured in car collisions caused by a distracted driver often need lengthy medical treatment. They might want to have a lawyer's help when seeking compensation for the resulting hospital bills and other losses that have been sustained.

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