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How to avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving is widespread in Louisiana and around the country. Many experts believe that distractions, especially smartphones, are the cause behind the rise in traffic deaths. In a Consumer Reports survey, 52 percent of drivers with smartphones admitted that they text, send emails, play music, watch videos, and surf the web on them while behind the wheel.

Many companies have introduced safety measures for smartphone users. For example, Apple operating systems now come with a mode that blocks all alerts for incoming calls and texts. iPhones and Androids also allow for automatic replies to incoming calls and texts while users are driving. Consumer Reports advises that drivers keep their phones out of sight, for good measure. Many states have texting bans to further dissuade drivers.

Smartphones are not the sole cause, though. Infotainment systems can also distract drivers, and even voice command devices can command too much of a driver’s attention. Controlling the in-car temperature, or anything else that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, can increase the risk for an accident.To combat this issue, automakers are adding more safety features to their cars. They include lane departure and collision warning systems as well as automatic emergency braking systems, the latter of which can stop the car for the driver if he or she does not respond fast enough to the initial alert.

No amount of technology, though, can protect entirely against negligence. Under the law, a distracted driver who causes a car accident can be held financially responsible for an injured victim’s medical bills and other losses. An attorney representing a plaintiff might first attempt to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault motorist’s insurer. If that fails, a lawsuit might be the next step.

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