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Distraction: A common cause of serious collision in Louisiana

It is not so much a question of whether you are sharing a Louisiana road with a negligent driver as it is whether you will avoid collision and safely arrive to your destination. Chances are, at some point, there will be a negligent driver in your midst if you frequently travel by motor vehicle. Distracted driving is highly problematic in this state and most others.

Distractions can place you and your passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians at risk for serious injuries or death. You might be cautious and alert behind the wheel; however, all it takes for disaster to strike is a nearby driver to look down at a cell phone, reach for something in a glove compartment, or become lost in his or her thoughts for a mere second or two. Driver distraction is a form of negligence for which the court can hold the person responsible legally accountable for his or her actions.

Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, thoughts focused

Most driving distractions can be categorized by the following headings: visual, cognitive or manual. If you or another driver are without both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead, it greatly increases the chances for collision.

Visual and manual distractions include adjusting radio knobs, smoking, using a hand-held electronic device, trying to read billboards or turning to look at someone in a backseat. Cognitive distractions, on the other hand, are those that result from your being lost in thought or trying to multi-task while driving, such as using a Bluetooth device to conduct a work meeting from a mobile position.

Ways to avoid distraction when operating a motor vehicle

You may be one of many Louisiana parents who often drive with several children in the car. If so, it's good practice to remind them to keep their voices calm and low so as not to distract you from the task at hand. If a furry friend travels with you as well, such as a cat or dog, it's best not to allow the animal to climb throughout the vehicle or sit in your lap while you're driving.

If you enjoy music on the road, it's not necessarily a problem; however, fidgeting with an iPod, Bluetooth speaker or radio while driving are serious distractions that often cause collisions.

If another driver's distraction causes you injury

Accidents are emotionally traumatic, especially because they are often unexpected and sudden. It can take weeks or months to recover from post traumatic stress disorder symptoms that arise in the aftermath of a serious car accident. You may have to take time off work to heal from your physical injuries as well.

Why should you have to bear the full burden of medical expenses and other costs related to your injuries if the accident was preventable and only occurred because of another person's distraction? State law allows recovering accident victims to seek restitution by filing personal injury claims in civil court.

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