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Causes of distracted driving and what to do about them

Louisiana motorists have probably encountered distracted drivers more than once on the road, and perhaps they themselves are distracted from time to time. Smartphones are apparently to blame for most distractions. A survey from Consumer Reports shows that 52 percent of drivers with smartphones have used them to text, send emails, watch videos, and surf the internet while behind the wheel.

Safety features for smartphones are available. Apple operating systems include a mode that blocks all alerts to incoming calls and texts, while iPhones and Androids have an option where they send automatic replies to calls and texts. However, this may not be enough. Consumer Reports advises drivers to either keep their phones out of sight or to pair them with their Bluetooth device. Drivers should never text while driving, and it is against the law in many states.

Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road, whether it's an infotainment system, the radio, or the temperature controls, will heighten the risk for a car accident. Distracted driving may even be responsible for the current rise in traffic deaths across the U.S. Automakers are incorporating safety features like lane departure and collision warning systems to help distracted drivers avoid crashes. Automatic emergency braking systems alert drivers to an impending collision and stop the car themselves in the event that drivers do not respond.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence, so when it leads to a collision, the at-fault motorist will likely be held financially responsible for the resulting losses. People who have been injured in such an accident or the surviving family members of those who have been killed might find it advisable to have a lawyer's help when seeking compensation.

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