April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the team at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are here to help raise awareness about this increasing problem on our Louisiana roadways. But just what is distracted driving, and why is it so dangerous? What are the most common types of distracted driving in Louisiana? In this blog, we’ll answer these questions and more.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Probably the most visible form of distracted driving nowadays is texting while driving, or otherwise using your phone while behind the wheel. However, distracted driving includes any activity that takes your attention from the road, including the following:
- Personal grooming or applying makeup
- Programming the GPS
- Tuning the radio or queuing a playlist
- Rubber-necking an accident
- Talking to passengers or on the phone
- and more
Driving is a complex behavior that requires sustained attention. Anything that pulls your attention away from the important task of driving contributes to your distraction behind the wheel, and can lead to a traffic accident, so find ways to keep focused.
Types of Distraction While Driving
There are four main types of distraction that drivers face, and many distracting behaviors can involve two or even more of these types. The following table shows common distracting behaviors and how they’re distracting.
|Tuning the radio||✓||✓|
Each of the icons above corresponds to a different distraction while driving:
- 👁 Visual Driving Distractions happen any time you take your eyes away from the road ahead, including turning to speak to your passenger, checking the time, or looking for somewhere to eat.
- 👂 Auditory Driving Distractions occur when you’re listening to something other than the road and traffic sounds. While music on a drive is one of life’s simple pleasures, if the music is too loud you won’t be able to hear emergency vehicles, honking cars, or your own engine.
- ✋ Any time your hands are touching something other than the steering wheel, you’re experiencing a Manual Driving Distraction. These include drinking a coffee, changing the radio channel, or groping for something in your bag.
- 🧠 Cognitive Driving Distractions are perhaps the easiest to experience: they happen anytime you’re thinking about something other than driving. If you’ve ever arrived at your destination without realizing quite how you’ve gotten there, you’ve been majorly cognitively distracted.
What’s the Big Deal About Texting While Driving?
Looking at the previous section’s chart, you can see that many distracting behaviors involve more than one type of distraction. However, texting while driving involves three overlapping types, more than any other on the list.
Any time you’re texting, you’re looking at your phone’s screen, tapping the keys to send the text, and thinking about the conversation. You simply can’t do all three of those things and drive at the same time. That’s why most states, including Louisiana, make texting while driving illegal for all drivers.
LA RS 32:300.5, titled Use of certain wireless telecommunications devices for text messaging and social networking prohibited, provides the details about texting and driving in Louisiana:
- No person “shall operate any motor vehicle” while using a “wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication,” or “access, read, or post to a social networking site,” unless
- they’re a first responder engaged in performing their official duties
- they’re reporting illegal activity or an accident
- they’re navigating using GPS
- they’re a health care provider communicating during an emergency
- People holding a Class “E” learner’s license or intermediate license shall not operate a motor vehicle while engaging in a call, unless talking or listening with a hands free device, and except for the above allowances for all drivers (LA RS 32:300.6)
- Teen drivers, or those who are under 18, shall not use a cellular device at all, except during the above allowances (LA RS 32:300.7)
A good rule of thumb is: don’t text and drive! Texting can wait until you arrive at your destination.
What to Do If You’ve Been the Victim of a Distracted Driving Accident
Sadly, accidents involving distracted driving are all-too common in Louisiana. If you’ve been struck by a distracted driver, you might be injured or in pain, or dealing with expensive medical bills or car repairs, all while unable to work due to your injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, remember: you’re not alone.
The Get Gordon team of personal injury lawyers is here to help. Give us a call today at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your distracted driving accident, and we’ll use our personal injury expertise to give you an estimate of what you could win based on your case. We’ll get started right away gathering evidence and putting a case together to help you get the maximum compensation possible for your situation.
Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys also offers the G Guarantee: if we don’t win your case, you owe us nothing. You’re dealing with so much in the aftermath of a distracted driving wreck; you don’t need to worry about getting the compensation you deserve. Call us today.