TXINS May E-News: Distracted Driving is Deadlier than Ever, Ask the Agent, Agency Happenings, Texas Trivia & More!

Distracted Driving is Deadlier than Ever 

Each day in the United States, more than 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Transportation Department, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” It’s not just texting or making calls on a cell phone; any activity that diverts a driver’s attention puts the driver, and his/her passengers, and everyone else sharing the road at serious risk.

A “distraction” includes talking on a cell phone, texting, eating or drinking, smoking, attending to or disciplining child passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player, or adjusting temperature controls.

The three types of distraction
Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: Manual, visual and cognitive.

  • Manual distractions are those where you move your hands away from the task of controlling the vehicle, such as when you reach for a soda in the cup holder.
  • Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road. For example, you drop your soda, it spills all over the floor of the car, and you look down at the mess.
  • A cognitive distraction is when you’re mind wanders from the task of driving. You start to consider whether you can afford to replace the shoes you just ruined or what stores have shoes on sale this week. Cognitive distractions take your attention away from the essential job of driving.

This is why texting has such a bad reputation: it always involves all three types of distraction, all at once. The urge to text is almost addictive; people tend to read and answer text messages and cell phone calls immediately. They leave their cell phones turned on so they do not miss any messages or calls. Sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver for about five seconds; at highway speeds, that represents a distance of about 300 feet in which the car is essentially driving itself.

How serious are the dangers? Deadly serious.

Researchers have found that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, about the same as if you were driving drunk. That risk doubles again, to eight times normal, if you are texting. A 2009 study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration examined commercial vehicle crashes and concluded that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving without distraction.

According to the NHTSA, more than 3,330 people were killed and more than 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving. That represents 10% of all fatal crashes and 17% of all accidents causing injuries.

Many studies are showing that distracted driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. Because distracted driving is temporary, it is hard to proactively catch and arrest distracted drivers. Instead, distracted drivers easily get away with their dangerous behavior, often completely unnoticed by the drivers around them. Once a driver gets away with distracted driving once, it happens again and again until an accident happens.

Alternatives to distracted driving
The best solution to solving the distracted driving problem is to put down the phone completely, keep your eyes on the road, and position your hands at ten and two. However, for many modern workers, this is one luxury they can’t afford. If you must use your smartphone while on the go, consider these four options.

  • Bluetooth headsets: A wireless headset frees up your hands, allowing you to talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. Another helpful feature of many Bluetooth devices is the ability to speak commands into the device, making it so you don’t have to handle your phone in order to make phone calls. Many newer vehicles have built-in hands free capabilities with the stereo system, letting you make and take calls without taking your eyes off the road.
  • Voice recognition technology: Even better is voice recognition technology which allows for the use of apps and even replying to texts by simply using your voice. This technology makes it possible to drive without ever needing to handle one’s device.
  • Find alternative ways to be productive: You may be surprised to learn that there are other ways to be productive on the go besides communicating with your phone. Take for example, listening to an audiobook or playing back your sales presentation in order to fine tune it. You can also try just turning off your phone during your commute and benefitting from being unplugged from the world, even if it’s only for a short drive.
  • Have someone else do the driving: Just because you lack the funds to hire a chauffeur, doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to travel by having someone else do the driving, allowing you to focus on your work. Carpooling is an environmentally friendly option, and public transportation can be worth the aggravation if it lets you hunker down and get work done during your commute.


We Are Here for You 

Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. is your trusted advocate. As an independent insurance agency, TXINS represents a wide network of A-rated insurance companies, which allows us to find the best insurance policy to fit your needs and budget. We don’t believe in cookie cutter policies and will customize a plan specifically for you. Your overall satisfaction is our top priority. That’s a promise.

TXINS offers complimentary insurance reviews to ensure you are getting the right coverage for yourself, your family, or your business. To schedule your review, contact us today at 800-541-9849 or via email. Together, we will ensure you are protecting what matters most.

The employees of TXINS are active members in our communities. Here’s a quick list of what we have planned for the month.

  • All offices will be closed on Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day.
  • Happy May Birthday to Jo Ann Hernandez and Al Ford! We hope you enjoy your special day!
  • Congratulations to the following TXINS team members on their May work anniversaries: Marcie Ramm-3 years and Amber McDonald-3 years. We are proud to have you on our team!
  • Congrats to our April Texas Trivia winners Clint Wishert, Wanda Eiteman, and Dianne Mozisek! Don’t miss the new Texas trivia question below. Be one of the first three people to answer the question correctly and win your own full-sized Texas flag!

The agency celebrated Mr. Sorrel’s 70th birthday with a surprise lunch at Bogie’s in El Campo on April 4.

Distracted driving is a deadly behavior. It consistently ranks as one of the traffic safety issues at forefront of many drivers’ thinking. It’s one thing to read about the statistics; it’s another to see in-car footage of real distraction events caught on camera.

I’ve lived in my home for 10 years and have never experienced a flood. My agent insists I have flood insurance in place. If my house has never flooded before, why do I need it?  – Theo F., Boerne, TX

Dear Theo:

Most people who’ve never experienced a flood don’t think about flood insurance. However, unprecedented weather events over the past several years have created unexpected major flooding events, impacting communities across the nation. Rapidly changing weather patterns are significantly changing and shifting the risk of floods.
Weather is not the only thing increasing flood hazards. Urbanization, commercial development, and changes in land use practices directly affect flooding potential. The more homes that are built and the more concrete that is poured, the fewer places water has to go. As development and land-use practices accelerate, our vulnerability to floods increases.
As with any other type of insurance, it’s important to know what a flood policy does and does not cover. For example, damage caused by a sewer backup is only covered by flood insurance if it’s a direct result of flooding; the damage is not covered if the backup is caused by some other problem.
Deductibles apply separately to building and contents with different amounts to choose. As with other insurance plans, a higher deductible will lower the premium you pay but will also reduce your claim payment, meaning you will need to cover the difference out of your own pocket.
Rates do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. The rates depend on several factors, including the date and type of construction of your home, along with your area’s level of risk. Most premiums include a Federal Policy Fee, a fee to help defray any increased cost of compliance with higher standards after a flood, and a Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 Surcharge.
Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase until your policy goes into effect. Here are the exceptions:

  • If a building is newly designated in the high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and you purchase flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision, there is a 1-day waiting period.
  • If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending, or renewing your mortgage loan, there is no waiting period.
  • If you select additional insurance as an option on your insurance policy renewal bill, there is no waiting period.
  • If a property is affected by flooding on burned Federal land and the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire-containment date, there may be no waiting period. Waiving of the waiting period is determined at the time of claim.

You’ve worked hard for your home. You’ve sacrificed for your family. It would be a shame not to protect these investments by forgoing flood insurance. Be sure you understand the risks. It’s important to have the sense of security and peace of mind you rightfully deserve. With severe weather events and flood hazards happening at every turn, why would you leave it to chance? 

Do you have a question for our agents? Email it to us! If we choose your question, we’ll send you a thank you gift! Be sure to include your mailing address and phone number in your email.

Congrats to Chris Wittneben of Needville, TX, our April Referral Program winner! Thanks for your referrals, Chris!

If you love Texas Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., tell a relative, friend, or co-worker about us. When they call to receive a quote make sure they let us know that you referred them.

As a thank you, you’ll receive a surprise gift and will be entered into our monthly gift card drawing and our annual Grand Prize drawing for a $1,000 gift card!!!

(Grand Prize drawing will be held on December 7, 2017.)

* Image courtesy of The Wandering Blonde

Texas Trivia

Jacob’s Well is an artisan spring in Hays County, near Wimberley and Dripping Springs. The cool water of Jacob’s Well has lured locals and visitors for hundreds of years. Daredevils leap from a nearby outcropping into the slim opening of the well, approximately 13’ wide. Free-divers probe the well, sometimes as deep as 140′, maneuvering into thin openings into underwater caves.

Swimming is permitted from May 1 through October 1 and reservations are required. The well is fed by the Trinity Aquifer, which pushes up its water through the well and spills it into nearby Cypress Creek. Because of this, what is the year-round temperature of the water at Jacob’s Well? Email your answer to Kara Wood. If you are one of the first three people to answer correctly, you’ll win a full-sized Texas flag!

Show Your Spirit, Texas!

TXINS encourages our customers to utilize TXINS 24/7. Through this service, you have secure access to all of your insurance information whenever and wherever you need it.

Through TXINS 24/7, you can:
– View and reprint auto ID cards
– View policy info
– Request policy changes online
– Access your TXINS agent’s contact info
– Obtain a certificate of insurance (commercial accounts)
– Maintain and manage an up-to-date list of certificate holders (commercial accounts)

To learn more or set up your free account from your desktop, click here.

TXINS is proud to be a Trusted Choice® agency. We are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy. This commitment means we will:

  • Work with you to identify the insurance that is right for you, your family or your business, and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products.
  • Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
  • Help solve problems related to your coverage or account.
  • Thoroughly explain the coverage and options available to you.
  • Return your phone calls and emails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  • Use our experience and company relationships to customize coverage specific to your unique needs.
  • Treat you with respect and courtesy.
  • Conduct our business in an ethical manner.

This is our promise to you. For more information on Trusted Choice, click here.

From our customers…

“Everyone is so nice. I call and get help right away.” –Delores Hill, Boling, TX

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