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Tennessee sees distracted driving penalty increase by 20 percent

The push to limit the number of drivers who are operating their vehicles while distracted has made headlines around the country recently. A new study done by The Zebra had some interesting findings when it comes to the penalties associated with distracted driving.

Motor vehicle insurance premiums have gone up since 2011 due to a conviction for distracted driving. That was when using your cellphone or texting only resulted in an increase of .2 percent. Today, that same ticket will raise your insurance premium 16 percent on average.

For Tennessee drivers, a conviction for distracted driving in 2018 will cause car insurance premiums to go up 29 percent when compared to 2011. This is an average $379 increase annually. That puts Tennessee's increase as the fifth highest in the country. The No. 1 increase goes to Vermont, when a conviction for drunk driving will increase insurance premiums by 41 percent.

Four of the cities in the country that had the highest increase in car insurance premiums included Knoxville, which a 30 percent increase, Nashville, with a 29 percent increase, Chattanooga, with a 29 percent increase and Memphis with a 29 percent interest. Those four cities came in at NO. 6, 7,8 and 9, respectively.

Distracted driving does not only include cellphones and texting. It can also include smoking, eating, drinking, adjusting a GPS or radio or putting on makeup.

Not every violation for distracted driving has a significant penalty. For example, in New York, the penalty can be as little $2.50. However, Detroit car owners convicted of distracted driving can see the penalty cost as much $2,000.

If you have been injured in a wreck where the at-fault driver was distracted, an experienced attorney can work to get you the compensation you deserve for you injuries and other losses.

Source:, "Tennessee is No. 5 for distracted driving penalty increases," Cortney Roark, April 11, 2018

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