In mid-February, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced that construction work to repair bridge joints on I-10 in Lake Charles, Louisiana would begin in March. Work did begin on March 3rd and while it is desperately needed and will lead to safer roadways in about four months, residents are concerned about increased traffic delays, distracted drivers and auto accidents.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from operating your motor vehicle. There are three areas of distraction: visually, manually, and cognitively. Or, to state it in even simpler terms: takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off the task of driving.
Nearly every driver is guilty of letting something take their attention off of driving. It is the responsible driver who makes sure to keep distractions to a minimum. The responsible driver is the one who avoids distractions of any kind and is aware of what other drivers are capable of doing (or not doing) that could lead to a mishap that causes a wreck. Those seconds of distraction can lead to a personal injury or even death.
Statistics from 2015 report that in the United States 391,000 people were hurt in motor vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver. 3,477 people were killed in the U.S. due to distracted drivers.
The numbers of crash injuries and lives lost are grim. The U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strives to educate people about distracted driving. If drivers are educated and understand the risks involved with taking our minds off driving for even a second, wrecks can be minimized.
Distractions while driving include eating, talking on the phone or to your passengers, putting on makeup, and using a navigation system. Picking up objects from the seat or floor, reading signs and bumper stickers, and texting all cause drivers to take their minds off the road, texting ranks as the worst distraction of all.
Imagine that you are driving and close your eyes for 5 seconds. In that amount of time, if you are going 55 miles per hour, you would drive the length of an entire football field. That’s a lot of space in 5 seconds. Every text, read or sent, takes your attention away from driving for at least 5 seconds. Those 5 seconds of distracted driving can lead to wrecks, personal injury, and death.
42% of teenagers, who are usually the least experienced drivers on the road, admit to sending a text or email while driving in the last 30 days. It is no coincidence that the highest rate of death from distracted driving crashes occur when the driver is under the age of 20.
To avoid personal injury and having to hire a car accident lawyer you can keep your mind on driving by limiting distractions. Here are some tips for safer driving and avoiding delays due to the I-10 bridge construction:
· Leave earlier than usual
· Turn your phone off or put it away so you won’t be tempted to use while driving
· Never text or email while driving
· Keep your eyes on the road at all times
· Take alternate routes to avoid construction areas
· Eat at a table or in the parking lot
· Carpool and let others help you watch the road
· Stay informed of laws and traffic flow
For more information from the DOTD about traffic conditions visit www.511la.org or call 877-452-3683.
If you are involved in a wreck and suspect a distracted driver caused your injury, call N. Craig Richardson. His years of experience as a car wreck attorney can help you win your case