Driving can be difficult at the best of times. That can be especially true in Louisiana, with its long stretches of rural highways, backroads, swamps and fields. Sometimes the roads are falling apart; sometimes there are no lights, and other times the roads are simply clogged with tourists, and defensive driving takes on a whole new meaning. While driving is difficult enough, it is made even tougher by distractions
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as, “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests that distracted driving currently accounts for 25-50 percent of all accidents and contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes. The NHTSA further reports that in 2015, 3,477 individuals lost their lives as a direct result of distracted driving.
Distracted driving has proven to be not simply someone else’s problem, but an issue in Louisiana, as well. According to a report from KNOE in Baton Rouge, statistics show that between 2011-2015, 192 people were killed and 26,977 were injured as a result of distracted driving. As a result, several state laws have been created or modified to lessen the dangers.
If you or a loved one has been injured or your family member was killed through the negligence of a distracted driver, contact the law firm of Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC. A native of Louisiana and LSU graduate, Chris J. Roy, Jr. is a third-generation lawyer and has been practicing for 30 years. He and his team have the knowledge, experience and resources to help you pursue your claim and get the compensation you deserve. Practicing out of offices in Alexandria, for questions or a free consultation contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537. The consultation is free, and you pay no out-of-pocket expenses or fees until we have successfully concluded your claim.
Types of Distractions
The CDC has studied distracted driving, its effects and potential steps to preventions. They list three types of distraction:
Visual: taking your eyes off the road
Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Most Common Distractions
AAA suggests distraction latency, or the amount of time for a distracted driver to again become fully engaged with the road after a distraction, lasts 27 seconds. The most common distractions include:
Cell phones – talking or texting
Eating or drinking
Talking to people
Working with the stereo
Using entertainment systems
Using navigation systems.
Cell phones are one of the major distractions for drivers. Statistics from the NHTSA show:
61 percent of adults use cell phones while driving.
47 percent of teens use cell phones while driving.
9 percent of drivers use some sort of phone while driving daylight hours.
542,000 drivers use handheld cell phones.
Teens make up 4.6 percent of drivers using handheld cell phones.
Drivers who hold a learner’s permit or an intermediate license, regardless of their age, are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone.
Bus drivers are not allowed to use both hand-held and hands-free cell phones while driving. This is a ban with primary enforcement, which means that you can get pulled over and get a ticket without committing another traffic violation.
Ban for all cell phone use (hand-held and hands-free) for novice drivers. This is a primary law for drivers under the age of 18.
Text Messaging Ban
Like many other states, all drivers in Louisiana are prohibited from text messaging while behind the wheel. This is also a primary law.
In addition to these bans, there is also a Preemption Law that prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving laws.
The penalty for text messaging while driving is $175 for first-time offenders, whereas repeat offenders get a $500 fine.
AAA offers several steps to keeping drivers safe. They include:
In addition to cell phones and other wireless devices, distractions such as eating, drinking, chatting with a passenger, reading a map, personal grooming, reaching for objects or looking at people or objects unrelated to the driving task also could lead to a crash.
Ask your parents, driving instructor or other responsible drivers how they stay focused on driving when presented with distractions.
Help other drivers avoid distractions by being a good passenger. If you’re ever riding with friends who are texting, on a cell phone, speeding or otherwise behaving irresponsibly, speak up. Tell your friends to drive safely, offer to help them manage the phone or, if they do not change their risky behavior, ask to be dropped off.
Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC has been serving the people of Louisiana from its Alexandria office since 1989. We handle a variety of cases, and look forward to addressing your legal needs. For questions or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537.
Third generation attorney serving Central Louisiana for 30 years. Let our experience help you.