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A distracted driver can sabotage attempts to drive defensively


Drivers in Louisiana and throughout the nation if not the entire world are cognizant of the dangers of encountering a distracted driver. With April having been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the issue is coming to the forefront in new ways. It is an unfortunate reality that it does not take much effort to spot a fellow driver who is using his or her smartphone while behind the wheel. There are numerous ways to use a device that go beyond texting including searching for music, updating status on social media, taking pictures, taking videos and more. When there is a car accident, drivers must always have it in their minds that it might have been due to a driver not paying attention.

From 2014 to 2015, there was a rise in fatalities on the road. This was a reversal of a trend in which these accidents had been in decline for seven years. For 2016, the early numbers indicate that this is continuing. More people died on the highways in 2016 than they had in any year since 2008. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that the highest percentage rise of fatal accidents that were deemed to have resulted from "human choice" came due to distracted driving.

Given this information, those who are attempting to help drivers operate their vehicles more safely are altering their focus on defensive driving in the context of distracted driving. With defensive driving, the idea is that drivers are anticipating the mistakes that other drivers will make. Defensive driving requires thinking ahead based on the past. With distracted driving, it adds a new wrinkle into what drivers must anticipate. When a light turns green, drivers might want to take extra care to look left and right in case a driver is using a smartphone rather than paying attention to the road.

Since texting and driving and other activities that result in a distracted driver is so prevalent and dangerous, those who suffer serious injury or lose a loved one in a car accident or any other kind of accident on the road must bear in mind the possibility and even likelihood that it was because of a driver who was not paying attention. Given the costs and losses that will result from a crash, discussing a case with an attorney who is experienced in litigation for a crash can help in moving forward with a case to be compensated.

Source: Huffington Post, "Rethinking Defensive Driving in Light of Distracted Driving," Joel Feldman, April 3, 2017

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