What if Insurers Didn’t Pay for Crashes Caused by Texting?


Author: Ann Carrns
Coverage Type: reporting

Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board called for a nationwide ban on the use of cellphones and other “portable electronic devices” while driving. It’s uncertain whether the board’s call will be heeded, given the public’s addiction to instant electronic communication, anytime and anywhere. But the proposal has generated discussion.

One provocative idea was floated by a man from Boulder (CO). He suggested, in a letter published in The Wall Street Journal, that insurance companies could curtail distracted driving if they simply refused to pay claims for accidents caused by texting. (Many states specifically ban texting while driving, but enforcement varies.) That sounded like an intriguing proposal to us here at Bucks — one that could be applied to all sorts of bad driving behavior, including drunken driving. The idea, though, seems to be a nonstarter. Insurance companies, and even a consumer advocate, make the point that coverage for injuries to yourself or others as a result of an accident — even one caused by careless or just plain stupid behavior — is one of the main reasons to buy insurance in the first place.

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