Distracted driving is a leading cause of automobile, motorcycle, and big truck accidents in Louisiana and across the nation. Each year in this country, about 3,000 people are killed in accidents caused by a distracted driver; many more are injured. Louisiana and other states have enacted laws that make certain kinds of distracted driving (such as texting while driving) illegal.
The problem of distracted driving has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to declare April 2022 as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a time to turn the spotlight on the terrible toll distracted driving accidents take on our society and, more importantly, educate drivers on ways to avoid becoming distracted while behind the wheel.
Avoid Becoming a Distracted Driver
The best way to avoid distracted driving accidents is to take steps to eliminate the things that cause us to become distracted. Here are a list of some of the most common activities that can distract our attention from the road:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Checking social media
- Taking photos or videos
- Adjusting the stereo, GPS, AC, etc.
Never try to multitask while you’re behind the wheel. Multitasking is trying to do two or more tasks at once. Switching back and forth limits your ability to perform either task. For example, get in the habit of either muting or turning off your phone and other devices. You can also turn on “driving mode” on most phones that will auto respond to texts and calls while you are driving. If it’s an emergency, pull over and find a safe place to park before responding.
If you’re a passenger, it’s your responsibility to avoid distracting the driver and to speak up if they’re engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. Parents need to talk to their teen or young adult children about distracted driving. Teens and young adults are most likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident.
Many Types of Distracted Driving Are Against the Law in Louisiana
As mentioned above, certain types of distracted driving are illegal in the state of Louisiana. This includes talking on a cell phone, texting or posting to a social media site while operating a vehicle on any public road or highway. It’s also against the law to operate a mobile device like a cellphone while driving through a school zone during posted hours. For either, the fine is $175 for the first offense; subsequent offenses can carry a fine of up to $500. You can also receive a $25 (plus court costs) citation for wearing a headset while driving.
As recently as March of this year, the Louisiana legislature is actively trying to ban hand-held cell phone use while driving.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in an Accident Caused By Distracted Driving in New Orleans
If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was the fault of a distracted driver, Louisiana state law gives you the right to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. These damages can include present and ongoing medical expenses, lost wages or loss of employment, as well as pain, suffering, and mental anguish. You can obtain this compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the driver responsible for the accident and their insurance company.
In order to get the maximum compensation to which you are entitled, it’s a good idea to enlist the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can protect your rights and interests in many ways. They’ll be able to gather the evidence needed to support your claim of personal injury, help you assign an accurate dollar amount to your injuries, handle all legal and administrative responsibilities, negotiate on your behalf with the other side’s insurance, and represent you in court, if necessary.
Speak to a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney About Your Rights
Don’t wait to protect your rights after a car accident in New Orleans. Louisiana has strict deadlines for filing a personal injury claim — if you wait too long, the courts may decline to consider your case. The sooner you take action, the better.
Contact the New Orleans car accident lawyers at JJC Law as soon as possible after your accident. JJC Law handles a multitude of car accident cases involving truck, auto, and rideshare accidents. We also assist clients with property damage insurance claims that arise out of car accidents.
Call JJC Law today, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney. We handle most personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no retainers or upfront fees if we decide to accept your case — we only collect our fee as a percentage of your final cash settlement.