Study: Spotty Driving Records Mean More Than Just High Costs

A motorist’s driving record, commonly used by insurers as a major factor dictating the premium that motorists are charged, is also an indicator of their overall risk of death, according to a recent study.

The “Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Mortality Study,” released Tuesday by LexisNexis and RGA Reinsurance Company, analyzed 7.4 million MVRs and identified 73,000 deaths. The study found that a person’s likelihood of death due to any cause rose in parallel with the number of major violations they had on their driving record.

“Our research shows that motor vehicle records can be a reliable indicator of lifestyle risk for insurance applicants,” Elliott Wallace, a LexisNexis vice president, said in a statement.

Study Analyzed Drivers with Major, Minor, No Violations

The study broke down “all-cause mortality” rates, meaning their likelihood of death in general, between motorists with clean records, minor driving violations and major driving violations.

Major violations included alcohol-related offenses and excessive speeding. A motorist convicted of just one DUI violation will still find a steep inflation of rates when they get car insurance comparisons, and if the data holds true, it might mean the same for life insurance comparisons.

An analysis of insurance coverage costs conducted last year found that, in California, having one DUI conviction without injury on a driving record increased premiums by an average of 41 percent. Depending on the insurance company and driver’s age, inflated insurance premiums stemming from one DUI ranged from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars more compared with premiums charged to a motorist with a clean record.

One major violation like a DUI is also related to higher mortality risk, according to the LexisNexis study, which found that motorists with one major driving offense on record face a higher death risk of 71 percent on average compared with those with minor or no violations.

More major violations inflate risk of death even more, with motorists having four or more violations facing a mortality risk that is more than twice that of motorists without major violations.

But violations of any kind also elevate death risks. The study found that two to five driving violations push up mortality risk by 24 percent, while six or more driving violations of any kind raises death risk by 79 percent.

Researchers Identify Gender-Related Trends, Gaps

According to the study, those trends generally held up across all age groups and genders, although researchers found several, less-pronounced gender-specific patterns.

Overall, fewer women had spotty driving records, according to the study, but those with poor records had much higher mortality risk compared with men with the same driving history.

According to the study, a woman with a major driving offense on record has a 100 percent greater mortality risk than a woman without one, compared with men who face a 61 percent higher mortality risk when they have a major driving offense.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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