Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorneys in Louisiana
In our increasingly-connected and busy world, distracted driving has become a bigger problem on our streets, roads, and highways. According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC), 193 people were killed in a fatal crash between 2016–2020 due to a distraction while driving, and another 23,010 people were injured in wrecks involving distracted drivers in 2020.
Just what is distracted driving? And why is distracted driving so dangerous? Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are the distracted driving car accident lawyers with the answers.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Although cell phone use and texting might be what you think of when hearing the phrase distracted driving, that’s not quite accurate. In fact, any activity that takes a driver’s mind off the task of driving, or their hands off the steering wheel, or their eyes off the road, is considered a distraction.
However, due to the extreme distraction inherent in cell phone use while driving, many state and local legislatures have passed laws prohibiting the practice. Louisiana has joined suit, and has passed a number of laws limiting or outlawing distracted driving practices.
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Types of Driving Distractions
Distracted driving doesn’t just involve texting; in fact, there are four main types of distractions that drivers can experience on the road. Texting is so dangerous because it involves three of these types, but each of these alone can also lead to a dangerous or even deadly car accident.
Visual Distractions While Driving
When you’re driving and looking at something other than the road ahead, you’re experiencing a visual distraction. These can include anything from turning in your seat to look at a passenger, to rubber-necking an accident on the road, to reading billboards on the highway.
Manual Driving Distractions
When you’re physically manipulating something in the car other than the steering wheel, you’re being manually distracted. Common manual distractions include handing something to a passenger or groping around on the floor for something dropped, but they can also include controlling the radio or navigation systems while driving.
Auditory Driving Distractions
Driving in your car, cranking up the tunes, and singing along is one of life’s simple pleasures. However, make sure you can still concentrate when singing along, and make sure not to have the music so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you.
Some drivers find they can’t concentrate if passengers are talking to them, so if this is you, try a no-speaking rule while you drive. A boring drive is better than a car accident.
Cognitive Distractions During Driving
Cognitive distractions can be even more dangerous than the others in this list, because they’re so easy to miss. Cognitive distractions happen any time your attention is directed somewhere other than the road, and can include drowsy driving, highway hypnosis, stressed driving, and others.
Texting and Driving Laws in Louisiana
Louisiana’s texting and driving laws have been written with three types of drivers in mind: those under the age of 18, those with learner’s and intermediate licenses, and all drivers. The restrictions and regulations applying to each group are outlined below.
Distracted Driving Restrictions Applying to All Louisiana Drivers
No driver in Louisiana is allowed to drive or operate a vehicle while using a wireless telecommunication device to do the following:
- write, send, or read a text-based communication of any type
- access, read, or post to social media
- engage in a voice call while in a school zone, during posted school hours
There are a few exceptions to the above rules, meaning that in the following instances, you may be able to use a cell phone while driving:
- if you’re an emergency services personnel using the device in your official duties
- if you’re using the GPS (global positioning system) of the device
- if you’re reporting an emergency or criminal activity
If you’re caught using a cell phone or other wireless device illegally in Louisiana, you can expect up to $500 in fines for the first violation. Subsequent violations carry a license suspension of 60 days and up to a $1000 fine. If your distraction leads to a collision, those fines are doubled.
Restrictions on Louisiana Drivers with Learner’s and Intermediate Licenses
If you have a Louisiana Class E learners’ permit or intermediate license, you’re not allowed to use a cell phone at all while driving unless you’re using hands-free technology. You still get the exception for reporting emergencies or criminal activities, however.
The law stipulates similar penalties for violations as above: a maximum $500 fine for the first violation, and $1,000 for subsequent violations. Violations involving collisions are fined double.
Restrictions on Underage Louisiana Drivers
Furthermore, if you’re under 18 years of age while driving in Louisiana, it is illegal to send text messages or talk on a cellphone at all while operating a vehicle. Of course, there’s an exception for emergencies and criminal activity.
The fines for teen drivers’ violations are half that of older drivers: the first violation maxes out at $250, and subsequent violations carry a 60-day license suspension and up to $500 in fines. As always, if a violation results in a crash, those fines are doubled.
How Can Driving Distracted Affect My Louisiana Personal Injury Claim?
If you’re a victim of a car wreck in Louisiana, the law is always on your side. If someone hits you while they’re on their phone, they may face criminal penalties, but you can also bring a civil lawsuit against them for the damages you’ve suffered.
To ensure your chances of success during settlement negotiation or in court, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys know how to procure the necessary evidence that the other party was texting, talking, or otherwise distracted in the lead-up to your accident.
Victims of Distracted Drivers: Get Gordon McKernan
If you’ve been hit by a Louisiana distracted driver, you might be facing neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, or even brain injuries. Car repair, replacement costs, and loss of wages are all possible too. While the law is certainly on your side after being a distracted driving accident victim, the odds can still be stacked against you.
Insurance companies—both yours and the other driver’s—are built to maximize their profits. That means they’ll try to pay out the smallest amount possible, leaving you holding the bag for many of your injuries and much of your pain.
However, the car wreck lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys understand that it takes much more than the minimum to account for the pain and suffering, lost wages, and sometimes years of disability you’re experiencing. That’s why we’ll fight for your rights, and help you procure the maximum amount we can to help you heal.
When you need an advocate on your side in trying times, call Gordon McKernan for a free consultation at 888.501.7888. We’re dedicated to our clients, so much that we offer the G Guarantee: we don’t charge you a dime until we win or settle your case. Give us a call today to get started getting better.
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