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Texting behind the wheel

Louisiana drivers might not be surprised to hear that the rate of motor vehicle accidents linked to the practice of texting while driving is on the rise countrywide. Multiple surveys and studies compiled by the Federal Communications Commission indicate that the use of a cellphone or other handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle dramatically increases the likelihood that an accident will occur.

For example, research conducted at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reveals that drivers who send text messages while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to become involved in a wreck when compared to drivers who are free of distractions. Moreover, data disseminated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that distracted driving was the deciding factor in 18 percent of all crashes that caused a death in 2010. Altogether, these incidents accounted for 3,092 fatalities.

A Pew survey indicates that four out of 10 teenagers nationwide admit to having been in a car with a driver who was actively using a cellphone in a perilous manner. Reportedly, a significant percentage of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 state that they themselves had been actively text messaging at the time of a crash.

When the act of texting while driving leads to an automobile accident, the distracted driver might be held responsible for the incident as well as the various damages that that accident caused, including the medical bills, lost income and property repair expenses incurred by the victims of the accident. For, many injured accident victims retain a personal injury attorney and file suit in the wake of the event. To combat the problematic issue of texting while driving, the Federal Communications Commission urges parents to teach their teenage children about the perils associated with cellphone use behind the wheel.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving", November 14, 2014

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