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How dangerous is distracted driving?

Everyone gets distracted from completing a task they are performing at some point or another. But when the task is driving, one of the most dangerous activities people engage in on a daily basis, then a simple distraction can mean the difference between life and death. In fact, around 9 people are killed and more than one thousand are injured in accidents involving a distracted driver each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving takes place when the person driving performs another activity that takes their attention away from driving. Though many Louisiana residents may think that distractions are only visual, meaning taking one's eyes off the road, it could also be cognitive, which is taking one's mind off the road. Additionally, it can be manual, which occurs when a driver physically takes their hands off the steering wheel. Though we only equate texting and driving as distracted driving, it could even include eating while driving and using a navigation system.

When it comes to distracted driving, younger drivers are the most susceptible, with drivers under the age of 20 the highest proportion of fatalities in these crashes. High school students, though probably aware of the warnings against texting and driving, do not always adhere to them. According to one survey, 42 percent reported sending an email or text while driving in the 30 days before the survey. It is interesting to note that using a wireless device for writing, sending or reading text based messages while driving is banned in Louisiana, regardless of the driver's age.

Since the action is illegal, criminal charges can result if someone is injured in a crash with a distracted driver. But the accident victim can pursue an independent personal injury action against the negligent party, helping to hold them accountable for their behavior. They may be able to receive compensation that could cover the medical expenses associated with the accident.

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Tauzin & Lorio, Attorneys at Law
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Lafayette, LA 70508

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