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Does texting while driving increase auto insurance claims

New studies indicate that drivers texting and using cell phones are more distracted, leading insurance experts to wonder if the behavior is contributing to increases in auto insurance claims.

One survey published earlier this year found that one in four drivers admitted to having sent text messages while driving their car. Among younger people, the percentage was even greater - 49 percent said they have texted behind the wheel.

Because the number of people text messaging is rapidly increasing, insurance and safety groups have begun to test the effects of this distraction on drivers.

Studies of people texting while driving in a simulator showed that distractions reduced their concentration and caused erratic driving.

Another test conducted by Car and Driver magazine used drivers in real vehicles and found that the reaction times of the drivers were worse while texting than when they were legally drunk.

Some state lawmakers aren't waiting for the scientific evidence to add up conclusively - 14 states have banned texting on the road, most recently North Carolina.

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