Baton Rouge Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
In our increasingly-interconnected world, we use our smartphones for more, and more varied, things than ever before. From making calls or texting friends and family, to finding and navigating to a good place to eat, and even to check the latest news, our phones are an indispensable tool to modern life, but they can also cause dangerous car accidents in Baton Rouge.
However, too many of us drive while using these tools, which distract us from the more important tasks of staying in our lanes, following the flow of traffic, and reacting to sudden changes in road conditions. In Baton Rouge, distracted driving has been on the rise for some time: according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, 193 people were killed from 2016–2020 because of distracted driving, and in 2020 alone, distracted driving accidents injured 23,010 people. This is why you need an experienced Baton Rouge distracted driving accident attorney if you fall victim to a distracted driver.
What Behaviors Qualify as Distracted Driving?
When most of us hear the words distracted driving, we immediately think of someone texting, calling, or scrolling through social media while behind the wheel. Using your cell phone while driving is one of the worst ways to distract yourself.
However, any activity that takes a driver’s mind off the road ahead is considered a distraction, and these are the most common types of distracted driving:
- Personal grooming
- Adjusting the audio system
- Talking to passengers
- and more
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Types of Distractions Baton Rouge Drivers Face
Baton Rouge distracted driving accidents don’t just involve texting. There are four main types of distractions experienced by drivers while behind the wheel. Texting is so dangerous because it’s a combination of three of these, but each alone can lead to a dangerous car accident.
- Visual Distractions include anything from turning in your seat to talk to a passenger to reading an engrossing billboard. You’re visually distracted whenever your eyes are looking at something other than the road ahead.
- Manual Distractions occur when your hands are occupied in an activity other than steering. Common manual distractions include groping for dropped sunglasses, tuning the radio, or eating or drinking.
- Auditory Distractions: turning up the volume and singing along to the radio while driving is one of life’s simple pleasures. However, if the music is too loud or you get too into the music, you’ll have become auditorily distracted. If you can’t concentrate while passengers are speaking, try a rule of silence on your drives—a boring drive is better than one that ends in an accident.
- Cognitive Distractions can be some of the most dangerous because they’re so easy to overlook. Cognitive distractions occur any time your attention has drifted from the task of driving. These distractions can include drowsy driving, highway hypnosis, or plain old stress.
Beginning in 2008, Louisiana has passed a number of laws aimed at curbing distracted driving on the highways and byways of our state. These statutes differentiate between three different stages of drivers, and apply progressive restrictions to each of them.
All Louisiana Drivers
According to LA RS 32:300.5, Use of certain wireless telecommunications devices for text messaging and social networking prohibited, no Louisiana driver is allowed to driver or operate a vehicle while using a wireless telecommunication device to
- Write, send, or read any type of text-based communication
- Access, read, or post to social media
- Engage in a voice call in a school zone during posted school hours
The law also outlines a few exceptions to these rules:
- Emergency personnel can use their device when operating in their official duties
- Drivers can use the GPS system of their device
- Drivers can use their device to report an emergency or criminal act
Drivers caught using their cell phones or other wireless devices illegally will be fined up to $500 for their first violation. Subsequent violations carry a license suspension of 60 days and up to a $1,000 fine. If the driver’s distraction results in a collision, those fines are doubled. If you’ve been hit by someone who was on their phone, be sure to consult an experienced texting while driving accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve!
Drivers with Learner’s Permits and Intermediate Licenses
Drivers with Louisiana Class E learner’s permits or intermediate licenses are subject to LA RS 32:300.6, which prohibits any use of a cell phone unless using hands-free technology. The exceptions for reporting emergencies from above still stands.
The penalty for the first violation of this statute is a $500 fine, and for subsequent violations a $1,000 fine. These fines are doubled if the distraction led to a collision.
Underage Louisiana Drivers
For Louisiana drivers under 18 years of age, LA RS 32:300.7 states that it’s illegal to text or talk at all while operating a motor vehicle, except for the emergency or crime reporting as discussed above. The penalties for this group of drivers is up to $250 for the first violation, and a 60-day license suspension and up to $500 in fines for subsequent violations. Of course, if your distracted driving leads to a wreck, these fines are doubled.
How a Distracted Driver Can Impact Your Baton Rouge Personal Injury Claim
If you’re the victim of a distracted driving car or truck accident in Baton Rouge, the law is on your side. The person who hit you while they were on their phone could face criminal penalties, but you’re also entitled to bring a civil suit against them or their insurance for the damages you’ve suffered.
To collect damages from a negligent driver, you need to prove that they caused the accident through their negligence—if they were caught texting and driving, that’s strong evidence of their fault. This means you’re more likely to receive the damages you seek.
Ensure your chances of success during the negotiation or litigation phase of your injury claim by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have the experience and drive to find the evidence the other party was negligent while driving, and we can get you the compensation you need to heal from your injuries.
What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Distracted Driving Accident in Baton Rouge
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you could be facing medical bills, car repair costs, and the burden of lost work. While the law is on your side after such an event, finding the compensation you need to move on with your life is no sure bet.
Insurance companies are built to maximize their profits, not pay you what you deserve for your injuries. They’ll offer to pay out the smallest amount legally possible, which can leave you with the bill for most of your damages.
The Baton Rouge car accident lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys understand that it takes much more than the minimum to account for everything you’ve been through, and for the hardships you’re still facing. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to fight for you and your rights, and will help you procure the maximum amount we can for you to heal—if we don’t win, you won’t owe us a dime!
When you need a dedicated legal advocate for your injuries, call Gordon McKernan at 225.888.8888 for a free consultation. We’re dedicated to our Baton Rouge clients, so give us a call today.
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