Louisiana has one of the worst records for driving deaths caused by distracted drivers in the entire United States. As WGNO reports, even though overall driving deaths decreased in 2020, likely because of reduced traffic thanks to Covid, the number of fatalities from distracted driving still rose by 12%. Even with fewer people on the road, they were engaging in more distracted driving than before.
MoneyGeek analyzed crash data about distracted driving fatalities and compiled information on the scope of the problem by state. They calculated the driving death rates based on miles driven, not simply the total deaths, to prevent states with the highest populations from automatically having the highest numbers. According to MoneyGeek’s study:
The states with the highest rate of deaths from distracted driver deaths in 2020 were:
- New Mexico
The states with the lowest distracted driver-involved death rates were:
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
Comparing raw numbers, not rates, Rhode Island had four distracted driving-related deaths in 2020, while New Mexico experienced 276. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of New Mexico was 2,118,390, and the population of Rhode Island was 1,096,345.
To understand the distracted driving death fatalities in Louisiana, our state had 262 distracted driving-related deaths in 2020, with a state population of 4,651,664. Even with the second-worst distracted driver fatality rate in the U.S., New Mexico’s fatality rate of 5.36 deaths per billion miles driven (dpb) was more than twice as high as Louisiana’s rate of 2.63 dpb miles driven. However, more than 40 states have rates below 1.5 dpb.
A Quick Overview of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
Although talking and texting on cell phones get much of the blame, the NHTSA explains that there are many other types of distractions.
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The Scope of the Problem
When you text while driving, you are not looking at the road for an average of 5 seconds each time you send or read a text. You travel the length of a football field in 5 seconds when driving 55 miles an hour. A lot can happen in 100 yards. There were 3,142 preventable deaths in 2020 from distracted driving.
The fatalities do not tell the entire story. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that there were more than 400,000 non-fatal distraction-affected crashes in 2020. Over 200,000 of those involved injuries.
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What You Can Do if You Got Hurt in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver
The person who caused the collision because of distraction can be liable for your losses. Getting injured in an accident that you did not cause can cost you a lot of money in:
- Lost income you did not get paid while recuperating from your injuries
- Future lost wages if you have ongoing impairments like chronic pain, weakness, loss of function, or other issues that limit your ability to earn an income
- The cost of the healthcare services you needed to treat your wounds, like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, physical therapy, surgery, and pain management
You could also have a claim for intangible losses like disfigurement and pain and suffering. If your loved one died because of a motor vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver, the family might be able to pursue additional compensation through a wrongful death claim.
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You Need to Act Quickly on Your Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim
Louisiana has one of the shortest filing deadlines in the entire United States. Our state law only gives you one year to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for your personal injuries under CC Art. 3492 or for the wrongful death of a loved one under CC Art. 2315.2. If you do not file the lawsuit in time, Louisiana law will bar you from holding the at-fault party accountable for your losses.
Merely negotiating with the insurance company does not satisfy the one-year filing deadline, also called statutes of limitations. Be careful if the claims adjuster is drawing out the negotiations, particularly if the one-year anniversary of the crash is near. You will want to talk to a lawyer well in advance of the deadline to give them time to investigate and prepare the lawsuit.
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we help people who get harmed by the carelessness of others. You can contact us today for a free initial consultation. There is no obligation.