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The 4 Consequences of Distracted Driving
Every decision you make comes along with a set of consequences, but few decisions are associated with as many unfortunate consequences as distracted driving. Below is a list of the things that happen to distracted drivers and four very good reasons to keep your eyes, mind and hands dedicated to driving when you’re behind the wheel.
1. Criminal penalties
Depending on where you are when you’re caught and what you’re doing while driving, you’re looking at a fine and, possibly, penalty points on your license.
Fines vary from state to state. Some states like South Carolina don’t have a ban on distracted driving at all, some require you to pay a small fine, and in Alaska distracted drivers are subject to fines up to $10,000 and a year in prison. The number of demerit points you’ll get varies too – it ranges from zero in most states to one in a couple of states to as many as four in Wisconsin.
A prison stay is a possibility in Alaska, Arkansas and Utah. In some states, distracted driving regulations apply to all drivers and in others, they apply only to drivers under 18 or drivers with a learners permit.
2. Loss of driving privilege
If you accumulate enough penalty points on your license from your distracted driving infraction, it could be revoked. In some places, your license can be revoked in response to a distracted driving conviction even if you have no past offenses.
3. Higher insurance premiums
Even after you’ve paid your fine, the consequences of distracted driving can still hit you right in the wallet. This is most likely to occur if the infraction happened in a state where distracted driving results in penalty points because many insurance companies use the number of points you have as an indicator of the extent to which you’re a high-risk driver.
If you’re found guilty of two infractions and awarded demerit points for both (cell phone used and distracted driving, speeding and distracted driving, etc.) you’re likely to see an even bigger increase in your premiums.
4. Injuring – or even killing – yourself or another person
This is the worst possible thing that can happen, but it’s an upsettingly common occurrence. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people in the U.S. were killed, and 431,000 were injured, in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014.
It could be the people in your car that you hurt – family members or friends – or it could be a pedestrian or another driver. If you seriously injure people you care about, or even strangers, the emotional impact could be very difficult to handle and might manifest in feelings of guilt, trouble sleeping, feelings of isolation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When you look at all of the consequences, it becomes very clear very quickly that distracted driving is not worth the risk. This message is proudly sponsored by WMC Tri-State Medical Network.