MINNEAPOLIS - More drivers admit to taking photos, checking email and scrolling through social media networks while they are behind the wheel, according to a State Farm survey... and those risky driving behaviors are affecting auto insurance rates.
"It's amazing when I drive on the road and I look over. Everybody thinks it's only young people but I see everybody [driving distracted]," said Brandon Walter, a State Farm agent who works in downtown Minneapolis.
In a 2016 State Farm survey, 35% of drivers admitted to texting while driving. 29% of drivers admitted to accessing the internet while driving. 23% of drivers revealed they take pictures and 14% said they record video while they are driving.
"Distracted driving puts all drivers at risk. Physically and financially," added Walter. "If you're driving distracted, the likelihood of you getting into an accident increases. If you have accidents, your premiums could increase."
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average insurance premium has jumped 16% since 2011 to $926 a year.
"An increased number in claims is going to have an impact on overall rates for everybody," added Walter.
State Farm provides a discount program for young drivers called the Steer Clear Program. Drivers are asked to take a safe driver pledge, log some of their trips, and learn safe driving behaviors.
Distracted driving is "something that we all need to be conscious of. [Put] the phone down, [put] the phone away, and drive and focus on the road ahead of us," said Walter.