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.
Louisiana Texting Laws
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preventing Distraction-Caused Fatalities
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. Additionally, 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.