Drivers in the U.S. are said to be becoming more dangerous, and insurance premiums are rising as a result. Apparently, the reason behind this is smartphones. In 2015, a survey by one of the largest U.S. auto insurers, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., found that 29% of people access the internet while driving and 36% admit to texting.

smartphones
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Smartphones, accidents, auto insurance: what’s the connection?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that in 2015, the number of “deadly” road accidents rose 7.2%. A report from the National Safety Council, a non-profit organization, suggests that it rose 6% last year. The total number of smartphone owners taking part in the State Farm survey has increased substantially as well over the last few years, from 52% in 2011 to around 88% in 2015.

There are, naturally, many factors involved here. For instance, an increase in the number of vehicles on the road increases the chances of collisions. Factors such as the U.S. economic recovery and lower gas prices could be affecting the alarming trend as well. These factors are putting more vehicles and more drivers on the road every day, leading to more traffic accidents, notes Phone Arena.

On the other hand, data for the number of smart device-based accidents is said to be conservative because usually, the people involved do not admit to using them while driving, or it cannot be proven that they were using a device, notes Android Authority.

However, irrespective of the degree of relation between them — auto insurance premiums and the number of deadly road accidents and active smartphone users — all seem to be on the rise.

Auto insurance costs rising despite improving technology

Auto insurance rates are proportionally and steadily increasing, while the number of traffic accidents in America is also on the rise. The Insurance Information Institute’s estimates indicate that auto insurance costs have risen every year since 2009. According to The Wall Street Journal, they will continue to increase despite the growing prominence of vehicles with anti-collision technology.

This negative trend, according to insurers, could be caused by the increasingly habitual and widespread use of smartphones behind the wheel. Last month, Michael LaRocco, chief executive of State Auto Financial Corp., said at an insurance industry conference that it is an “epidemic issue” for the country.

The connection between more widespread smartphone usage and the rising numbers of traffic accidents and distracted drivers on the road is still not clear, but according to researchers, the scope of the issue could be wider than what we expect.