What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted Driving Definition

Operating a motor vehicle while simultaneously engaging in another task that diverts your attention in an unsafe manner is deemed distracted driving. Distracted driving can increase your insurance rates because you could be ticketed or you could cause an accident.

Activities that are considered distracted driving include:

  • using a cell phone for talking or texting
  • operating your vehicle’s sound system
  • adjusting your GPS
  • eating a bowl of cereal
  • shaving (seriously, people do this)
  • applying makeup (kinda like the shaving thing)
  • reading a book or a text or a magazine
  • reaching for something
  • dealing with pets or children
  • changing clothes
  • looking at maps or directions while driving
  • anything else that takes your attention from the road

These activities and others take your eyes off the road and present a major safety and financial hazard for you, your passengers and the other vehicles on the road. Distracted driving can impair your driving ability just as much as drunk driving, even if you are an experienced driver.


Mr. Swirvy McSwirvington got stopped by the police because he swerved (see what we did there) wildly while reaching for his cell phone that had fallen onto the floor beneath the passenger seat. The officer gave him a ticket for distracted driving. Not only did he have to pay a fine, but when his auto insurance company learned about the violation, they increased his rates.

Swirvy is not happy about the situation, but considers himself lucky that his only penalty was financial; his distracted driving could have caused a serious accident. Swirvy plans to keep his eyes on the road in the future.

Did you get a distracted driving ticket? Contact Us for more information on how it will affect your insurance rates!

Tips From First Foundation

Insurance companies increase rates for drivers with distracted driving violations because the demonstrated risky behavior could put the insurer at greater risk of paying a claim. To manage that increased risk, the insurer must charge more. With too many moving violations or accidents, an auto insurer may decline to renew a policy altogether because the driver is causing the company to lose money.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says distracted driving affects 80% of car accidents in North America. Distracted driving tickets for cell phone use can cost hundreds of dollars, especially if it isn’t your first offense. It’s best to use a hands-free system or pull over if you need to use your phone on the road. If you violate another law while driving distractedly, you can receive two tickets at once.

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Last updated Feb 11, 2019