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Use of social media and Pokemon Go while driving is a problem

Louisiana residents have probably heard about the dangers of texting while driving. This behavior is only one type of problematic distraction, however. With the explosion in the number of people having smartphones, other activities, such as checking social media accounts, have emerged as a growing and equally dangerous issue.

The District of Columbia and 46 states ban texting while driving. In addition to texting, drivers are checking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat and Google Maps. With the advent of Pokemon Go in July 2016, some drivers have also been playing the game while they are behind the wheel, with sometimes bad results. In one incident, a man collided with a parked police car. In another, a girl crashed her truck into a light pole.

Studies underscore the extent of the problem. Liberty Mutual Insurance surveyed 2,500 teenage drivers and found that almost 70 percent admitted to checking social media and using apps while they drive. The problem is not one that is just limited to young drivers, however. A study by the National Safety Council in which 2,400 drivers of all age groups were surveyed found that 74 percent admitted that they would check Facebook while behind the wheel.

An inattentive driver who causes an injury accident while using a smartphone may be held to be accountable for the behavior. Injured victims have the right to file personal injury lawsuits against distracted drivers in order to seek compensation for the losses that they have incurred, such as medical bills and lost wages. These lawsuits can be successful even if no criminal charges are filed against the negligent motorists. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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