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Study: Risky driving and higher death rates linked

Monday - 7/16/2012, 4:38am  ET

WASHINGTON - A poor driving record is indicative of risky behavior in and out of the car, a new study finds.

The Motor Vehicle Record Mortality Study, completed by LexisNexis and RGA Reinsurance Co., used the same data that determines how much people pay for car insurance.

"Our research shows that motor vehicle records can be a reliable indicator of lifestyle risk for insurance applicants," said Elliott Wallace, vice president of life insurance at LexisNexis, in a news release.

The data, taken from 7.4 million MVR requests, found that those with major violations, such as excessive speeding and alcohol-related offenses, have a 70 percent higher mortality rate than those who don't. Additionally, six or more driving offenses bring the percentage to 80 percent.

The study compared the data with the likelihood of dying in general.

The findings apply across all age groups and to both men and women, though women have fewer adverse driving records overall.

However, women who do have major driving violations face a 100 percent greater risk of dying while men's came in at 61 percent.

"For consumers, this study offers insight into how lifestyle impacts risk and the considerations they need to make for life insurance," said Wallace.

The study also found that even those with between two and five violations have a 24 percent higher mortality rate.

The findings could help life insurance companies better structure insurance policies.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)