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Strong cellphone laws for drivers linked to fewer accidents

Louisiana partially restricts cellphone use by drivers. Novice drivers must forgo the use of cellphones behind the wheel entirely, and texting while driving is prohibited for everyone. The state had the 15th highest rate in the nation for distracted driving deaths, according to a study by an online financial advice company. Overall, the study found that strong policies against using cellphones in vehicles correlated on average with lower numbers of accidents due to distraction.

Researchers examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration to tally traffic fatalities attributed to distracted drivers between 2015 and 2017. During this period, distracted drivers were the probable source of over 1,400 deaths. Louisiana has a death rate of 1.76 victims per 10 billion vehicle miles driven. By comparison, the worst state for distracted driving deaths, Tennessee, had a rate of 7.2 per 10 billion vehicle miles driven.

The study identified 12 states along with the District of Columbia with the strongest laws meant to curb distracted driving. In this group, deaths caused by drivers using cellphones were 30 percent lower than in the other states.

The presence of state laws banning or restricting cellphone use by drivers could support a car accident victim’s claim of negligence against another motorist. Legal counsel could help a crash victim recover damages. An attorney could lead an accident investigation and strive to find evidence that the at-fault party was using a cellphone during the time of the crash. This evidence could pressure an insurance company to offer an acceptable settlement. If the case needs to go to court, then the attorney could explain the evidence to a jury.

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