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There may be more cell phone deaths in Louisiana than reported

Cell phones have become an integral part of Louisiana society. Although it sometimes seems like individuals cannot function without their cell phones, it may be time to consider whether cell phones are overused in certain situations. This is particularly true in driving situations; especially since cell phones are one cause of car accidents.

Of course, not everyone may be convinced that mixing cell phones and driving presents that dangerous of a situation. Statistics about driving fatalities and cell phone use may actually be the reason that drivers continue to use their cell phones on the road.

A recent study by the National Safety Council supports this theory. It noted that in 2011, Louisiana reported no highway fatalities related to cell phone use. The study urges that this finding is simply inaccurate and supports the conclusion that cell phone-related accidents are underreported. The study partially blames the underreporting on the way data is actually collected. Drivers' failure to admit to using a cell phone when questioned about the cause of an accident is another reason. The study further posits that it is likely that 25 percent of all car accidents are actually caused by a distracted driver, who is texting and driving.

Louisiana drivers should realize that they might be at more risk than they think when they take the road. The plethora of state laws on this topic should further raise concern because the Legislature clearly recognizes the dangers that cell phone use poses while driving. For example, Louisiana has a law in place that bans texting for new drivers as well as all other drivers.

If someone ultimately gets in a car collision because a driver has been using his cell phone, the injured party can use these laws to their benefit. The injured party can argue that the negligent driver did not fulfill his duty in obeying the rules of the road.

Drivers should be aware of the state laws in addition to practice safe driving. Even if a law does not specifically ban texting while driving, drivers should always remain attentive behind the wheel and texting can significantly disrupt their driving.

Source: Mother Nature Network, "Cellphone driving deaths: way more than you think," Jim Motavalli, May 13, 2013

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