Hands-free devices not guaranteed to reduced distraction

Distracted driving takes many forms, but texting while driving is one of the deadliest ways that drivers can become distracted.

There is a menace on the roads that has become just as deadly as drunk driving and drowsy driving. Most people in Louisiana, as well as across the country, own cellphones today. Their convenience has led countless people to use them while driving. While it's starting to catch on that texting and driving don't mix, some may not realize that it's dangerous even to talk on a cellphone while behind the wheel. In fact, many states have imposed bans on texting while driving, but some have not yet made it against the law for drivers to take a phone call.

In Louisiana, all drivers are restricted from texting while driving, states the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Additionally, drivers under the age of 18, those with learner's permits and newly-licensed drivers may not use handheld devices. The reason for these rules is clear: distracted driving takes lives.

Common ways drivers get distracted

According to Distraction.gov, driving while distracted includes any type of activity that takes a person's attention away from the road. In 2012, there were about 421,000 people who were injured in distraction-related crashes throughout the United States. This represented nearly a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Some of the most common ways drivers can become distracted include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Using a vehicle navigation system
  • Adjusting the music
  • Reading or watching a video
  • Grooming

Although all of the above distractions can result in serious injury or death, the most dangerous type is texting and driving, since it involves a driver's visual, manual and cognitive skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reading or sending text messages take a driver's sight, hands and mental attention away from the task of driving.

Even using hands-free devices may not be safe. Information provided by the National Safety Council suggests that drivers using hands-free devices can still miss seeing up to half of the activity near them while talking on a cellphone, even while doing so hands-free. Also, brain activity that registers moving objects is decreased when a person is on the phone.

Texting teenager hits school bus

An accident in Gillis, Louisiana, showed how dangerous distracted driving can be and how quickly a crash can occur. According to Insurance Journal, last April a 19-year-old driver slammed his pickup truck into a school bus that was stopped on U.S. Highway 171. Authorities believed he had been texting at the time of the crash. The bus driver and a student were taken to the hospital for minor injuries, and the pickup driver received citations for texting while driving, careless operation and failure to stop for a school bus.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident, injury