Even careful, conscientious drivers may find themselves endangered on the road when other motorists are not paying attention.
Unfortunately, from eating or drinking to handling mobile devices, all too often U.S. drivers overestimate their ability to multi-task behind the wheel, sometimes with deadly results.
Distracted driving statistics
Despite the fact that Louisiana and other states have enacted hands-free laws and spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, inattentive motorists continue to cause thousands of collisions each year in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2019:
- 566 non-vehicle occupants died in distraction-related collisions, including pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-drivers
- About 424,000 people suffered injuries and 3,142 lost their lives in motor vehicle collisions involving an inattentive driver
- Around 15% of crashes involving an injury were the result of distracted driving
- Around 9% of fatal collisions involved a distracted driver
Louisiana laws against distracted driving
Mobile phone usage is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. In Louisiana, the law prohibits all drivers from using a handheld device to write, read or send texts, emails, instant messages or social media posts while behind the wheel. Additionally, it may be illegal to make a call when in a school zone, even using a hands-free device, except in cases of an emergency.
While driver cellphone use is a major risk factor, there are many forms of distracted driving that may be just as dangerous. Eating, drinking, conversing with passengers, reaching for an item or restraining an unsecured pet are all examples of activities that may take a driver’s attention off the road and the traffic around them.