Distracted driving appears to be behind increased car crashes

The National Safety Council reported that there was an eight percent increase in roadway fatalities in 2015 from the year before across the country -- including here in Louisiana. That type of increase has not been seen in approximately 50 years. Many sources are concluding that distracted driving appears to be behind this increase in deadly car crashes.

It only takes a few seconds for the landscape of the roadway to change. If a driver is not paying attention, that could lead to a fatal accident. Statistics show that drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 comprise the largest number of distracted drivers. Teenagers are distracted while driving nearly 25 percent of the time, which makes them particularly vulnerable to causing or being involved in crashes. However, adults are not off the hook for being distracted behind the wheel.

Drivers have always engaged in activities (i.e., eating, shaving and putting on make-up) while driving that take their attention off the road, but technology appears to be playing a large role in the increase of fatalities. Texting and driving has been outlawed in many states, including Louisiana. However, Louisiana law still allows the use of handheld cell phones, which can be just as dangerous.

Each year, thousands of people across the country die in motor vehicle accidents that might have been avoided if the at-fault driver had been paying attention to the road. Families who have lost a loved one to a distracted driver retain the right to file wrongful death claims against the party or parties believed to be responsible. If the evidence establishes that the death of their loved one was due to the negligence of another, an award of damages as seen in car crashes might be made.

Source: theadvocate.com, "Remember safety on the road this summer", July 20, 2016

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