Some of the most common distractions that cause wrecks on I-10 include talking and texting on a cellphone, using GPS devices, adjusting music controls, applying makeup, and zoning out or daydreaming. Other causes include talking to passengers, handling pets or children, or looking at something on the roadside.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019 alone. This includes drivers and passengers. Pedestrians and cyclists likely also died from distracted driving collisions.
On I-10 in Louisiana, nearly 55 accidents occur every 100 miles resulting in around 89 fatalities annually, making I-10 one of the deadliest roads in the U.S.
What are the Leading Distractions That Cause Accidents?
Although it is difficult to put an exact figure on how often distracted driving leads to a crash or the type of distraction in each incident, the statistics show some common distractions frequently lead to Louisiana crashes. This includes:
Talking or Texting on the Phone
A person must use their hands, eyes, and mind to text or dial a phone. The same is true when using an app or updating social media. Louisiana has made it illegal to talk or text on a cell phone while driving. Those who violate the law face fines, but using a smartphone still causes accidents on I-10.
The NHTSA lists GPS devices as one of the leading causes of distracted driving-related accidents, citing them as one of many devices that keep a driver’s eyes off the road and nearby traffic.
GPS devices are not always intuitive to use. As such, they require more focus to set up and use. Drivers often try to enter an address into their navigation devices while driving or make other changes to their destination behind the wheel.
Adjusting Music Controls
Today’s audio music systems offer more features than ever before. While these features can enhance the listening experience, they can also cause distractions. A driver may have to push or rotate multiple controls to reach the desired settings. Even changing the volume or moving to the next song can take focus from driving, eyes from the road, and hands from the wheel.
Putting on makeup can be potentially more dangerous than texting. A person who applies makeup typically does so in front of the car visor mirror. This makes it more difficult to see the road, especially when the driver takes their eyes from the road to the mirror and back again.
In addition, it requires skill and attention to detail that takes the focus off driving safely. It takes at least one hand off the wheel, as well.
Zoning Out or Daydreaming
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists mental distractions – anything that takes your mind off of driving – as one of the three main types of distractions, along with taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Zoning out or daydreaming often occurs when a person has been driving for long periods or at night. They can be looking at the road and, yet, not thinking about what they are doing. Driving while upset, mad, or tired can also be distracting.
What to Do After a Distracted Driving Car Accident
If you are in a car accident on I-10, and you believe the accident occurred because of a distracted driver, there are several steps you can take immediately after the accident. When possible, you should:
- Seek medical attention right away if any injuries occurred
- Contact local law enforcement by dialing 911 or *LSP to reach Louisiana State Police
- Report that you believe distracted driving caused the crash
- Take videos or photos of the accident scene and damaged vehicles
- Talk to eyewitnesses who can verify your claim and get their names and contact information
Each of these steps may be able to help you prove your claim and receive compensation for your injuries or other damages. Once your injuries are stable, reach out to an attorney who can gather additional evidence, navigate the claims process for you, and secure a settlement or award, if possible.
Proving the Other Driver Was Distracted
Proving that the other driver was distracted led to your collision can be more challenging than it may seem. This requires substantial evidence that may not be available or easy to obtain.
There are several ways you may be able to demonstrate the other person was distracted. This includes:
- Subpoenaing phone records
- Taking eyewitness statements
- Obtaining expert testimony
- Viewing a security feed or video footage
You should report your suspicion of distracted driving to law enforcement officers who respond to the scene. If they document it in their report, it may be easier to hold the distracted driver responsible. A car accident lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana, may be able to help you with your case by obtaining evidence of liability and distracted driving.
It is essential to know that you do not have to prove distracted driving occurred to recover compensation in a traffic accident claim in Louisiana. Instead, you only need to show:
- The driver violated a traffic law
- This led to the crash
- You suffered injuries, financial losses, and other harm as a result
For example, if a driver crossed the centerline and collided with you because they were texting, you and your attorney must prove they failed to maintain their lane, and this caused the accident and your injuries. If you can show they were texting, that is additional evidence to support your claim. However, it is not required to recover compensation.
Get Help from a Car Accident Attorney in Lafayette, Louisiana
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, you can hold them responsible for your damages and recover compensation. Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can discuss your case, establish liability for your injuries, and help you determine how much your case is worth.
To discuss your case with a car accident team member from our Lafayette, Louisiana, office today, call (337) 777-7777. We offer free case evaluations. Our legal team may be able to help you pursue a fair settlement.