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Insurers may set pricing based on smartphone use

Florida motorists may worry about the threats posed by distracted drivers who text and play with their smartphones while operating their vehicles. Research has shown that driving while texting can increase the risk of car accidents. Due to the widespread concern, insurance companies are taking note of the risk in their own pricing process.

One unit of Allstate is developing innovative software that tracks the use of a smartphone inside the operator’s car while driving. Based on the type of use experienced, the insurer could set premiums based on a distracted driving benefit or penalty. The software makes use of a phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to measure the movement of the phone and its angle. This can differentiate between a phone left lying flat and one being moved and manipulated. It also measures app opening and usage and whether or not the phone is unlocked.

The insurance company’s tests, which involved thousands of drivers and 160 million trips, reaffirmed the results of earlier research into the perils of distracted driving. Drivers who used their phones while behind the wheel were more likely to put others at risk in car accidents. The accidents in which smartphone users were involved were themselves more likely to be costly and involve severe injuries. This means that the distracted drivers were also more expensive insurance risks, costing insurers 160 percent more than other drivers.

People who have been victims of car collisions caused by distracted driving have the right to seek compensation for their losses. They might want to have the help of a personal injury lawyer when doing so.

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