Distracted driving is causing thousands of fatal car accidents across the U.S., and the situation is getting worse in states like Louisiana. A new study says Louisiana has some of the most distracted drivers in the country.
Since 2019, the number of distraction-related car accidents has increased by 57 percent in Louisiana - from 583 such crashes to 920 accidents last year. Meanwhile, fatal distracted driving accidents are up by 10 percent over the same period, with 311 deadly accidents in 2019 and 344 last year, state data says.
"Distracted driving is particularly dangerous because it diverts a driver's attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents," said study authors, the United Services Automobile Association. "USAA encourages all drivers, regardless of their state's ranking, to prioritize safety behind the wheel. By taking simple precautions, we can collectively make the roads safer for everyone."
Almost 8 percent of crashes involve driver distraction
USAA ranked Louisana as the second worst state for distracted driving. For the study, the insurance group considered factors such as the number of distracted driving accidents reported per year and smartphone distraction rates, among other things. Only one other state had more distraction-related accidents than Louisiana, and that was Mississippi.
Nearly 18 percent of drivers in Louisiana are not paying attention behind the wheel, USAA estimated. Whether they are distracted by texting, smartphones, eating, drinking, music, adjusting vehicle controls, or another type of interruption to their focus, the result is a dramatic increase in traffic crashes.
According to state data, distracted driving accidents in Louisiana frequently involve victims getting rear-ended on a state highway. Over the last five years, East Baton Rouge Parish has reported the most distraction-involved accidents compared to other Louisiana parishes. Orleans Parish had the second most, with nearly 8 percent of crashes in the parish involving a distracted driver.
Tips to avoid distracted driving
USAA offers tips to help reduce distracted driving and the resulting serious and potentially fatal accidents, including:
- Put your phone away. Silence or switch your phone to "Do Not Disturb" mode and store it out of reach, such as in the glove compartment or the back seat.
- Plan ahead. Set your GPS, adjust your music, and settle any potential distractions before you start driving.
- Avoid multitasking. Focus solely on driving. Avoid eating, grooming, or any other activities that take your attention away from the road.
- Pull over if necessary. If you must address something urgent, like a text message or an important call, find a safe place to pull over before doing so.
- Inform passengers. Ask passengers to help with navigation or other tasks that may distract you while driving.
If you were hit by a distracted driver, we can help you demand accountability
Louisiana bans texting while driving, a common distraction for drivers. If you're injured in a texting-related accident, you might question the need for a lawyer, as the other driver broke the law. However, these cases can be complex. The texting driver may deny texting and blame you. Without the right evidence to support your claim, you could end up paying out-of-pocket for accident-related expenses you did not create.
At The Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC in New Orleans, Attorney John S. Williams takes an aggressive approach to fighting for injured crash victims. With more than 10 years of experience handling personal injury claims, Attorney Williams can guide you through the legal process, offering compassionate and professional legal help while pursuing the justice and financial compensation you deserve. If you were injured or a loved one died in a New Orleans accident involving negligence, contact us for a free case consultation.