smart spending

Auto insurance rates collide with credit

The interesting thing is, to my knowledge, the insurance companies have found no similar link between a high credit score and driving ability. There might even be an inverse relationship, as wealthier folks are more likely to have tricked-out, highly interactive rides and numerous peripherals like GPS, OnStar, MP3, satellite radio, traffic collision avoidance systems and aromatherapy-infused cup holders to distract them.

To test this theory, I just tweeted Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte and Lindsay Lohan. I'll let you know what I find out.

But I'm betting we'll see higher auto rates for wealthy multitaskers about the time "The Fast and the Furious" franchise speeds away with an Oscar for best picture.

Old school rules

Maybe I'm hopelessly old school on this, but I still prefer the traditional good-driver discounts -- not for sterling credit, but for keeping your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your rims between the ditches.

I don't happen to live in one of them, but 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban texting while driving. Seven other states have taken it a step further and banned the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly 80 percent of vehicle accidents and 65 percent of near-misses in 2006 involved driver inattention.

Do I care about the credit score of the guy about to ram me? Hardly.

But my chances of living to eat that double-stacked cheeseburger with fries from the Super Value Menu would improve greatly if insurers could focus their incentives on ways to make him a more responsible motorist.

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