Despite several key legislative efforts aimed at curbing the problem and a proliferation of public awareness campaigns, the issue of distracted driving remains a serious problem on roads around the state of Louisiana and across the country.
State lawmakers have had laws on the books for several years banning the use of handheld and hands-free cellphones by both bus drivers and those with a learner’s permit or intermediate license (regardless of age). They recently passed a law banning texting for all drivers in the state and have expanded the ban on handheld cell phones to include novice drivers (those under the age of 18).
Notwithstanding legislative efforts, distracted driving remains an issue. This is due in part to the fact that drivers have, for years, been overconfident of their abilities to “multi-task” and drive. Many motorists are simply unaware of the real level of attention and focus required to drive carefully, and assume that since they can easily juggle several different tasks in other contexts, the same must be true while they are behind the wheel. This has led to performing many actions while driving that dramatically increase the chances of being in a motor vehicle accident even though they those same acts are innocuous in another setting, including:
New studies have recently shown how very distracting texting and composing emails can be while driving, even if done by using a hands-free, talk-to-text device. Research performed by the University of Washington and other renowned institutions proves that while hands-free devices may remove some of the visual distraction (the driver doesn’t have to look down at the screen) and a portion of the manual distraction (the driver isn’t physically typing the letters in), the level of cognitive distraction (brain power necessary) used by hands-free devices is so significant that it results in a seemingly identical level of inattention to that caused by using a handheld device.
The crash data reports maintained by the Highway Safety Research Group (a division of Louisiana State University) tell the real story of how distracted driving, reckless driving, speeding, driving while intoxicated and other accident-causing actions impact the state’s roadways. According to HSRG data, in 2013 alone, there were over 41,000 injury-causing and fatal motor vehicle accidents in Louisiana. That averages out to about 113 crashes per day, all of which resulted in personal injuries or deaths, many of which could be prevented if drivers simply focused on the road ahead instead of splitting their attention.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a Louisiana distracted driving accident? Would you like more information about legal options to hold the at-fault driver responsible? Are you concerned about medical bills, property damage and lost wages associated with the injuries you sustained? For answers to these and other questions, speak with a Louisiana personal injury attorney today.