The unfortunate reality is that even though most teen drivers are fully aware of the elevated risk of death and bodily injury posed by distracted driving, many continue to do so, freely discounting the otherwise laudable educational efforts of government agencies, educators, and safety advocacy groups.

Interestingly enough, the Missouri Department of Transportation is now trying a new approach to educating teens about the dangers of talking and texting on a smartphone while behind the wheel, and it has nothing to do with personal risks and everything to do with financial risks.

As part of its “MO Eyes on the Road” PSA campaign, MoDOT is focusing on how those teens responsible for distracted driving crashes face rather significant hikes in their insurance premiums that will haunt them for years.

Indeed, the campaign — working with one of the state’s larger insurance companies — uses a theoretical car crash involving a teen driver with a clean driving record to demonstrate just how high these premiums can climb if the teen causes a car accident because of their distracted driving.

Prior to the wreck, the insurance company indicates that the teen would likely pay semi-annual rates of roughly $837 for full coverage and $517 for liability-only coverage. However, after the accident, these premiums would jump to $1,394 and $913, respectively, for as long as three years.

“Not only can distracted driving cost lives, it also can cost you thousands of dollars in higher insurance premiums,” said the MoDOT director. “This is money that could have been spent on college, a vacation, or a down payment on a home. Even if no one was hurt, that accident can have substantial financial consequences.”

Here’s hoping that this campaign is able to reach some teens, and finally convince them of the need to keep their smartphones off and their eyes on the road.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options.

Source: Claims Journal, “Missouri DOI highlights insurance costs related to distracted driving,” Aug. 21, 2014

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