Distracted Driving and Personal Injury

Distracted Driving and Personal Injury

Most residents in Louisiana have likely heard people talk about distracted driving and how dangerous it can be. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a 2015 study by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis found that over 1,000 injuries and 9 deaths on U.S. roads per day are attributed to distracted driving.

While the local and national focus on distracted driving has largely centered around handheld use of mobile phones, it is important for people to understand that there are many other forms of distraction that are equally as dangerous. In addition to manual distractions that take a driver’s hands off the steering wheel, visual and cognitive distractions take a person’s eyes and minds away from driving which can be highly risky.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety took a look at how dangerous the use of in-vehicle systems might be. They evaluated 40 systems in cars made in the last two years that required no hands but did require the eyes and minds of drivers. Hands-free navigation systems were found to be the most dangerous of all types of systems. Overall, 17 of the systems in the study were found to require a very high demand on drivers for their mental and visual attention.

What many consider to be a routine task – the programming of a vehicle navigation system – took the average of 40 seconds to complete. During this time, a driver’s attention and eyes may be diverted away from driving, posing a serious risk to not only themselves but others in their vehicles and elsewhere on the road.

To clarify manual, visual and cognitive distractions, please see examples below.

Manual Distractions – handling your cell phone, eating, drinking, applying makeup, passing things from the front of the car to the back, removing clothing, brushing hair or digging in front of the vehicle storage areas.  Manual distraction is anything that takes your hand or hands off the wheel. 

Visual Distractions – looking for a new cd, watching or reading the news on an electronic device, tuning the radio system, programming your navigation system, or looking at passengers.

Cognitive Distractions – listening to audiobooks, rehearsing a speech, daydreaming, impassioned phone calls, arguing with passengers or on the phone.  Cognitive distractions can be deceiving because on the outside it could appear you are doing everything right, while your mind is focused on something other than driving. The unfortunate consequence of distracted driving are all too real for those in the path of the distracted driver.  Many victims of distracted driving are left injured and alone to pick up the pieces.  At Lundy Lundy Soileau & South, we focus on the victims’ rights, including the right to recover just compensation for the negligent actions of another.  Our team of veteran personal injury attorneys in Lake Charles, La are skilled litigators and diligent defenders of justice.  Should you find yourself on the receiving end of a distracted driving accident, please consider reaching out for a free consultation