Insurers Offer Labor Day Driving Tips for Motorists

Drinking and drivingThe end of Labor Day weekend wraps up the “100 Deadliest Days” for drivers, but authorities will still be out in full force throughout the three-day holiday to enforce traffic laws and keep an eye out for drunk motorists.

The period starting on Memorial Day and running through Labor Day weekend are called the “deadliest days” because, with students out of session and more motorists on the road, the chance for a crash is much greater.

The American Automobile Association estimates that 28 million drivers will be out on the roads this weekend, a 3 percent increase from the last year’s Labor Day holiday.

As such, insurers are telling the insured to be careful. And these days, careful motorists pay attention to what they’re doing, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

“The Labor Day weekend is often filled with fun social activities such as festivals, trips to the beach or just hanging out with friends and family, but the temptation to stay connected through a cell phone or by texting could prove tragic,” Bob Passmore, PCI senior director of personal lines, said in a statement.

There were 360 deaths nationwide in the three days during Labor Day weekend in 2009, according to a report from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA). That year was the first time since 1999 that the number of deaths was below 400, and the fatality figures were falling since 2007, when there were 520 deaths.

Weekend Brings Drunk Driving Crackdowns, Insurance Implications

Authorities have long trumpeted a message that has been attached to holiday weekends: Don’t drink and drive.

The latest anti-drunk driving slogan—“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”—comes from a coalition of safety advocates and federal entities who attached it to their nationwide campaign that began in August and continues through Labor Day weekend.

The campaign brings together more than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. “who will be redoubling their efforts” to crack down on drunk drivers, according to an NHSTA statement.

In 2009, 38 percent of the 360 roadway deaths during Labor Day Weekend involved a driver with alcohol blood content higher than the legal limit, according to the NHSTA.

Aside from the fines and likely license suspension, a drunk-driving conviction can wreak havoc on insurance rates. Many motorists with DUIs on record, especially repeat violators, have to locate high risk car insurance to cover themselves because insurers won’t offer them typical policies; such high-risk insurance policies are usually pricier.

An analysis from OnlineAutoInsurance.com broke down what happens to a driver when they are hit with a DUI.

The analysis employed a sample profile of a Los Angeles male resident driving a 2011 Honda Accord covered by a 50/100/50 policy with collision, comprehensive and medical payments coverage and retrieved insurance premium data for that sample motorist from 8 to 11 insurers.

For an insurance policy covering a 20-year-old, the analysis found that a DUI could hike the price of coverage by as much as 76 percent and as low as 25 percent, amounting to $1,700 more a year in yearly premiums and average 55 percent jump in price. The average increase would bring an extra $1,169.

Surveying a 25-year-old driver with the same profile found a DUI raises coverage costs by an average of 65 percent, ranging from as high as 97 percent to as low as 26 percent. The average increase amounts to about $805.

A 30-year-old with identical characteristics would see an average increase of about $693 from a DUI, while a 35-year-old would find an average increase of $702, according to the analysis.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com 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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