Americans are driving more, thanks to rising employment and cheaper gasoline. But that also means they're getting into more accidents — and that's leading to higher insurance rates.
Of course, it's not just a matter of more people cruising the roads. Unsafe behavior also may be contributing to a national accident problem, according to research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. A February report by the group found about 87 percent of drivers engaged in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel within the past month, including using cell phones or not wearing seat belts.
"The number of accidents has gone up," said Jim Lynch, chief actuary of the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. "At the same time, the size of claims settlements has been rising as well, so the industry is kind of getting hit by a double whammy."