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Study shows frequency of distracted driving behaviors

The number of possible distractions for motorists behind the wheel is increasing every day. While distractions on the road used to include primarily noise from passengers or the radio, there are now multitudes of electronic gadgets that can capture motorists’ attention when they should be focusing on driving. Currently, one of the most common and dangerous distractions for drivers is cellphones.

Recently, the University of Washington conducted a study to determine just how frequently motorists use cellphones while they are on the road. The researchers observed 7,800 drivers while they were traveling in Washington.

Of the motorists observed, 8 percent were using some type of electronic device — including a cellphone — while they were driving. The researchers noted that over 3 percent of the drivers were using a handheld phone while they were behind the wheel.

In addition, of the distracted drivers, almost 50 percent were seen texting while on the road. Texting is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving, as it typically distracts a motorist for 4.6 seconds, on average. If the motorist is traveling at 55 miles per hour, he or she could travel the length of a football field during the time he or she was distracted by the text message.

Prevent dangerous distracted driving accidents in Louisiana

Of course, these behaviors are risky and can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents, as drivers who are attempting to multitask while on the road are not as focused on the task at hand as they ought to be.

Consequently, many states — including Louisiana — have implemented laws to prohibit certain dangerous forms of distracted driving. For instance, in Louisiana, all motorists are prohibited from texting while behind the wheel.

In addition, Louisiana law provides restrictions for certain groups of motorists. In fact, both bus drivers and novice drivers are banned from using any type of cellphone — including both handheld phones and those with hands-free technology — while they are on the road.

These laws are aimed at reducing the number of fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving collisions every year. In 2011, a total of 3,331 individuals died in motor vehicle accidents caused by a distracted driver. The same year, approximately 387,000 people sustained personal injuries when they were involved in a distracted driving collision in the U.S.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the damage caused. Consult with an skilled personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected.