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Allstate monitors phone usage by its insured drivers

Virginia motorists know they shouldn't text and drive or use hand-held cell phones when they are behind the wheel. Not paying attention to the road has been proven to cause car accidents. An increase in their auto insurance premiums could just be the incentive for them to avoid distracted driving.

At least one insurance company is monitoring the use of in-car smartphones by its customers. The technology tracks movement of the smartphone as well as indicates if the phone is unlocked and apps are being used. This could result in insurance premiums being raised for those who use phones while driving and reduced for those who don't.

Allstate monitored 160 million trips made by its insured drivers and found using phones behind the wheel was indeed dangerous. Distracted drivers can cost insurers 160 percent more than drivers who paid attention to the road. Drivers using smart phones are more likely to cause accidents, driving up claims costs paid by insurance companies. The division of Allstate that developed the technology said basing rates on smartphone usage is more accurate than basing rates on a driver's credit score. Company officials predicted more insurance companies will start using the technology.

Sometimes car accidents can be avoided. Accidents caused by distracted drivers don't have to happen. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in accidents caused by a distracted driver often require surgery or other expensive medical treatment, and in many cases they are unable to return to work for months. People in this situation might want to meet with an attorney to see what options for seeking compensation might be available.

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