For years, safety advocates have warned drivers about the dangers of using cellphones while driving. Louisiana has enacted laws meant to discourage distracted driving. The state prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending messages on digital devices, nor may they access social media. Furthermore, drivers can’t use cellphones or other communication devices while traveling through school zones, even if the device is hands-free. For young drivers, the restrictions are even tighter. Drivers under 18 cannot use cellphones at all while behind the wheel.
Still, drivers continue to be distracted by their devices at an alarming rate. According to one source, Louisiana drivers look at their cellphones an average of 2.4 times every time they drive. These may be brief glances, but some studies have found that drivers remain distracted for as much as 30 seconds after they look away from their cellphones.
The results are devastating. According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, 5,400 people are injured every year in Louisiana because of distracted driving. Another 38 die.
Distracted driving and negligence
Drivers have a duty to others to avoid the risk of an accident that could hurt other people on the road. If they take their eyes off the road in order to look at their cellphones, or are otherwise distracted, they have breached this duty. And if, by acting negligently, they cause an accident that harms another person, they may be held liable for the damages they have caused the injured person.
People who have been injured in a car accident should look through police reports to see if there is evidence the other driver caused the accident through distracted driving. A personal injury lawyer with experience in motor vehicle accident cases can help the injured and their families to understand their legal options.