Distracted driving is a serious problem in Louisiana. State officials estimate there is a car accident every 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Many of these accidents are primarily caused by distracted driving.
Most people immediately think of texting and driving or smartphone use when they think of distracted driving. Yet, doing things like adjusting the radio, eating, and even conversing with your passenger can also result in dangerous distracted driving collisions.
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident in Louisiana, call our firm today for a free consultation about pursuing the compensation you deserve. Our Baton Rouge distracted driving accident lawyers are committed to helping victims of accidents caused by negligent drivers, and we want to help you, too.
About Distracted Driving
An estimated 25% of driving accidents are primarily caused by distracted drivers. Approximately 3,500 people are killed, and 392,000 are injured, many severely, in accidents caused by distracted drivers every year.
Distracted drivers are dangerous. When a driver approaches a hazard, a driver needs to first notice the hazard, process its meaning, make a decision as to how to react, and then physically respond (pressing the brake, swerving, etc.).
The reaction times vary from driver to driver, situation to situation, and how fast the car is moving, but a typical example is given below:
The driver sees the hazard, processes what it is, and makes a decision about what to do.
This takes on average 1.5 seconds while the car travels 120 feet.
The driver hits the brakes. It takes a short but measurable time to depress the brake, and even with the brakes in full engagement, it takes time for the car to stop. In this example, the vehicle travels an additional 130 feet before halting.
In this example, the car traveled almost as far during the response time as it did during the braking time. Let’s say the driver comes around a curve, and a pedestrian is standing in the road 300 feet away. An alert driver can stop and not hit the pedestrian. Distracted drivers have no chance at all. A typical driver spends 4.5 seconds looking at their phone for every text. A car moving at 45 mph will cover slightly more than 300 feet during this time. The pedestrian in this example would be hit before the texting driver even notices they are there.
Other Statistics on Distracted Driving
- A driver dialing a phone is 2.8 times more likely to get in an accident.
- A driver talking on a phone is 1.3 times more likely to get in an accident.
- A driver reaching for a phone or adjusting the car’s controls is 1.4 times more likely to get in an accident.
In short, every second counts when you’re driving, and when you’re distracted even for a moment, it could result in a serious injury or fatality. If you or a loved one suffered harm in a crash caused by a distracted driver, get in touch with a dedicated member of our Baton Rouge team right away to learn more about your legal options for compensation.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are many common forms of distracted driving that we see:
Instead of thinking about driving, the driver thinks about other aspects of life and drives on auto-pilot without paying much attention to the road.
Many people act like they are addicted to their cell phone. If it beeps, vibrates, or rings, they simply cannot stop themselves from at least glancing at it. Many people make and take phone calls while driving. The act of reaching for, answering, or dialing a phone takes the eyes and mind off the road. Holding a cell phone takes a hand off the wheel. Even if using a hands-free device, talking on a phone takes your attention off driving. Texting while driving is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving. The mind is disengaged from the task of driving, the eyes aren’t looking at the road, and the hands are off the wheel.
Conversations with Passengers
Although most drivers don’t think of talking to their passengers as anything out of the ordinary, it is definitely a distraction. The driver stops focusing on the task of driving and focuses on the conversation instead. Besides, many people feel the need to look at the person they are talking to, and some people feel the need to make gestures with their hands while talking. Both practices can significantly impair a driver.
There are safe ways to transport dogs and other pets in cars, such as secured in crates, behind vehicle barriers, or attached to a seatbelt. And then there are unsafe ways, such as letting the dog ride loose in the car. Some drivers even let their pet ride in their lap while they try to drive. A loose animal in the car can be extremely distracting to the driver.
Many accidents have been caused by a driver becoming interested in looking at their surroundings instead of the road. The driver may see something of interest, like an animal, crashed vehicles, a sign, or even another driver, and switch their attention to that instead of the task of driving.
Adjusting the Controls
Drivers who adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls, and the entertainment system withdraw their attention from the road for a few seconds, which is long enough to get into an accident.
Eating, Drinking, and Smoking
Doing any of these activities while driving can take your attention away from the road and also impairs the use of one of your hands. Leaning over, trying to fish your burger out of the bag, taking a drink of hot coffee, or using the cigarette lighter can also draw your eyes off the road.
What Is the Definition of Distracted Driving?
As a Baton Rouge attorney could explain, distracted driving is defined as:
- Anything that diverts the driver’s mind from the task of driving
- Anything that diverts the driver’s eyes, however briefly, from the road
- Anything that removes one or both of the driver’s hands from the steering wheel
Louisiana’s Distracted Driving Laws
As of 2020, the following activities were strictly forbidden while driving in Louisiana:
- Texting, reading, or writing
- Using any form of social media
- Cell phone use is forbidden in school zones by all drivers
- Drivers under the age of 18 and drivers within the first year after obtaining their driver’s license–using cell phones while driving
- Drivers 16 and under–using any kind of electronic communication device while driving
However, just because an activity isn’t explicitly listed as forbidden while driving doesn’t mean it’s legal. If an activity results in distracted driving, as defined above, then it’s creating a hazardous situation.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
Preventing distracted driving is simple but not easy if you already have bad driving habits. Some basic tips include:
- Adjust the seat, mirrors, and other settings before moving the car
- Secure any pets
- Turn off your phone
- Pullover to eat, drink, or smoke
- Program the GPS before leaving
- Avoid having conversations with passengers, especially arguments and serious discussions
The more you can focus your attention on the road ahead, the greater your chances will be of arriving safely at your destination.
Free Consultation With Our Baton Rouge Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
In order to recover compensation for a crash caused by a distracted driver, our distracted driving car accident attorneys have to prove the driver was at fault for the accident.
Important evidence needed to prove an accident was caused by distracted driving could include:
- The police report. The police investigate serious accidents and collect information like tire tread marks, the types and locations of the damage to the vehicles, and so forth to establish a model of what happened.
- Eyewitnesses. Often, other drivers or bystanders witness what happened and can at least provide some general information, such as seeing the driver talking on a cell phone.
- Video evidence. Nowadays, video cameras are everywhere. They watch intersections, the fronts of buildings, and many random locations. In addition, practically everyone is carrying a video recording device around in their pocket. Video evidence could clearly establish the facts of the case.
- Cell phone records. Cell phones are involved in an astonishing number of distracted driver accidents. If the driver was texting, they can’t deny texting right before the crash when their cell phone records firmly establish that texting was taking place.
If you were injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, call the experienced Baton Rouge distracted driving accident lawyers at Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.
We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. You could be entitled to:
- Compensation for your medical bills and physical therapy
- Compensation for your pain and suffering
- Compensation for your lost wages during your recuperation
- If your injuries prevent you from returning to your former line of work, compensation for lost future wages
- If your loved one was killed in the accident, you could receive compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost future wages, along with compensation for your pain and emotional distress
Don’t wait until it is too late to get the fair compensation you’re owed. Call Tomeny | Best today or reach out online to schedule a free and 100% confidential consultation.