Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of many car accidents that take place regularly. One way that drivers become distracted is due to cell phones. Texting while driving can easily lead to a car accident, where others are injured or even killed. At Cueria Law Firm, L.L.C., we handle cases regularly where car accidents occur due to distracted driving involving texting. It is important to know your legal rights so you can take action when involved in a car accident involving distracted driving.
In the state of Louisiana, there is a statewide ban on wireless devices texting while driving. Drivers are not allowed to write, send or read text messages while driving. Fines were raised in 2016 to $500 for the first offense. In a school zone, making a phone call, texting or social networking is absolutely prohibited.
It is important for every New Orleans resident or visitor driving in the state of Louisiana to abide by these texting laws. If you are involved in a car accident with someone who has abused the texting rules then you may have a case. A personal injury attorney who specializes in automobile accidents and Louisiana driving laws will be able to review your accident and determine if legal action should be taken.
Every individual who operates a motor vehicle in Louisiana must take proper precautions to drive responsibly. Safe driving habits should be used at all times on the roadways. When the decision is made by the driver to neglect this responsibility and devices such as cell phones are used, that individual must be held responsible for what happens due to their actions, be it an accident or injury.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident involving distracted driving, particularly texting while driving, contact our office today, we will review your case and help you determine what legal action to take.
New Orleans Accidents From Distracted Drivers
For years now, distracted drivers have been a leading cause of car crashes in New Orleans. Cell phone use is a common cause of distracted driving, with most accidents caused by texting or phone calls. However, distractions can come in many other forms. There are three categories of distracted driving; Visual, Manual, and Cognitive. Manual distraction while driving involves the hands being physically not on the steering wheel. Visually distracted driving consists of the driver not having their eyes on the road. With the cognitive distraction, drivers are not thinking clearly about their driving. There are many ways that distracted driving can lead to horrific car wrecks, and drivers should always try to be aware of other drivers and road conditions that may cause them to be distracted and lead to an accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the leading causes of accidents involving distracted driving involve cell phone use, looking away from the roadway, or reaching for something inside the vehicle. Drivers applying makeup while driving, as well as reading, also apply. While some people feel doing such activities while driving is multi-tasking, it is harmful and places the driver at a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
The state of Louisiana recently enacted laws that would hopefully put an end to distracted driving. Texting while driving is not allowed in Louisiana, yet drivers still do it. Drivers under the age of 20 are more likely to text and drive, leading to a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
Driving and Texting
When driving, your eyes should be on the roadway and other drivers around you. When you pick up a mobile device to text, it takes your eyes away from the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a campaign titled “Distraction,” which shows just how texting affects one ability to drive. Texting involves all the categories of distraction in one activity. You are manual, visually, and cognitively taken from the roadway. For 4.6 seconds or longer, you are removing your eyes from the road. When going at high speeds, such as 55mph, this can be similar to driving a football field length blindfolded.
A large percentage of traffic fatalities every year could be avoided if the driver was not texting while in control of a motor vehicle. To put a further stop to such deaths, the state of Louisiana has banned any new driver with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license from using a cell phone at any point during driving.
The majority of drivers who text and drive are between 16 and 24 years of age. Such drivers are considered a higher risk of being in an automobile accident due to inexperience on the road. Because this age range often uses mobiles, the risk of an accident goes even higher.
How to Prevent Distractions While Driving in New Orleans
Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving in New Orleans
- Remain Focused. Do not let your attention wane from the roadway. Scan ahead to be sure to know what is in front of you as well as check your mirrors regularly.
- Keep Loose Items Put Away. Be sure to place any loose items like your purse, wallet, or mobile phone up before you begin to drive. If you leave these items free in your front passenger seat and they fly into the floorboard when you stop suddenly, you may feel tempted to reach out and grab them, which can lead to an accident.
- Prepare the vehicle Before you drive. Avoid adjusting your mirrors, seats, or the radio station after you start driving. Take time to make these adjustments before you leave so you are not distracted.
- Avoid Grooming While Driving. Take the extra time to wake up early before work or school so you can groom at home. Do not apply makeup, brush your hair, or even shave while driving.
- Eat at home. Another biggie is eating in the car. Avoid making a mess by eating your breakfast, lunch, or dinner outside of the vehicle. You can easily create a mess or have difficulty driving when you try to eat while on the road.
- Secure Kids in Safety Seats. Be sure to secure your child in their safety seat correctly before driving. Talk to your kids about staying buckled. If a child needs your immediate attention, pull over. Do not attempt to help your child from the front seat in any way.
- Avoid Electronic Distraction. Put your cell phone away and even avoid a hands-free option, unless in an emergency. You do not need to text, check email, or use the internet while driving.
- Passenger Rules. Let your passengers know that you want to stay focused on driving. You can speak but do not engage in any activity that will leave you distracted.
- Pull Over if Needed. If something on the roadway or within the car warrants your undivided attention, then pull over. Stop the vehicle and do what you need to do before driving any further.
- Something Goes Wrong. If anything goes wrong with your vehicle or problems arise inside the car, such as a spilled drink or a child gets out of their car seat, pull over. Do not attempt to make any moves until you are at a complete stop somewhere safe.
Being a focused driver helps to avoid distractions and, in turn, lowers your risk of an accident. However, you cannot control others on the highway.
Can Technology Detect Distracted Driving?
One Canada-based technology company believes it may have the answer. They aim to add one more cutting-edge feature to new cars: technology that can monitor the driver for distracted behavior. Researchers at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence are leaving driverless cars to Waymo and Uber. Instead, they are looking inward and developing software that can monitor drivers for dangerous behavior.
The monitoring technology that could end distracted driving relies on a network of cameras in the dashboard and car doors. This creates a kind of three-dimensional picture of the driver, which a specialized program then analyses. If the program finds any distracted behavior, then the system would alert the driver, hopefully pulling his or her attention back to the road. In the future, the car might even be able to automatically brake or take over the steering when the driver is distracted.
This technology is still in its early development phase. One major obstacle researchers face is how to develop a system that can accurately tell when a driver is distracted. Often, even the driver doesn’t consciously realize that he or she is distracted until a car accident happens. Currently, researchers are training their software to make autonomous decisions based on multiple factors, including hand and eye positions. So maybe this tech has more in common with self-driving cars that it would at first appear.
What Could This System Mean for the Future of Car Accident Injury Claims?
Currently, this distraction-detection technology relies on the human driver to react to the warning and re-focus on the road. Since human error is still a factor, this kind of program may be unable to completely end distracted driving accidents. However, if driver monitoring systems become commonplace, then they may help make proving liability in a car accident claim much easier.
After a car crash, there is often little concrete evidence to show that the at-fault driver was texting or distracted. Even if you saw that the other motorist was texting, the insurance company may not take you at your word. Instead, they may say that it is your word against the other driver’s. However, data collected by monitoring systems in the moments before a crash may show that the at-fault motorist was distracted.
If you were hurt in a distracted driving accident in New Orleans, then our lawyers can help. We have experience with these types of accidents and can offer you legal advice in a free initial consultation.
Children Left In Cars due to Distraction
Distraction and forgetfulness seem to be major issues in today’s society. Distraction is especially dangerous when it comes to driving and cars. People are so busy or obsessed with social media that time and time again, we see stories on our local news where children are actually left in a vehicle, eventually dying due to overheating or hyperthermia. Parents, caregivers, and guardians of children left in vehicles claim they were distracted and forgot the child was in the car, leading to horrific and preventable deaths.
Distraction Caused Fatalities
Unfortunately, incidents of forgetting a child in a vehicle are becoming more common. Distracted driving and forgetfulness are common due to the technology used today as well as schedules of parents or guardians. Factors that can contribute to leaving a child in a vehicle can include:
- Talking on a mobile phone
- Distracted by other children
- Running multiple errands
- Change in daily schedule
The death of a child left in a vehicle is 100% preventable. Such deaths are the result of distraction and multitasking. There are safeguards that individuals can put in place to ensure a child is never left in a vehicle. Placing items in the back of the car that has to be removed is a common way to remember the child is in the back seat. Wireless sensors can also be placed on the car seat or seatbelt of a child that can create an alert when the adult has left the vehicle without the child.
To ensure the safety of a child, parents, as well as caregivers or guardians, must give up the distractions that can lead to leaving a child in the vehicle. Such distractions, like using a smartphone, must be avoided in a vehicle to ensure personal safety as well as the safety of other passengers and others on the roadways.
Prevent Distraction-Caused Deaths
Hyperthermia and heat-related deaths of a child are completely preventable. Drivers should make changes to have the presence of mind while driving. It is crucial to be aware when driving with children. Be mentally present and aware at all times. Even if you are not physically holding a cellphone, you could be distracted by a hands-free device or talking to another passenger. Avoid such distractions so that you can keep everyone in your vehicle safe.
Ensure that anyone who drives with your child is ready to avoid distractions and will take great care when traveling with your children.
If you or a loved one have been affected by distracted driving and a child has suffered injury or died due to a preventable accident, you have the right to file a claim. Contact Cueria Law Firm to schedule a consultation so we can begin to build a case.