A rural Louisiana woman was killed in a car accident on Highway 112 earlier this month. The multi-car crash occurred when the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck rear ended the deceased woman’s PT Cruiser and forced it into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler.

The driver of the pickup truck sustained minor injuries and the driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured. Police are attempting to determine the root cause of the accident and have determined that all parties involved were wearing safety belts.

The results of routine toxicology tests are pending. No direct cause has yet been determined. The driver of the pickup truck could potentially face criminal and civil consequences. If the driver is found to have been intoxicated, the motorist could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which carries with it a potential penalty of years in prison and large fines.

Civil compensatory damages can run in the millions of dollars and include, but are not limited to: medical expenses, damage to the victim’s vehicle and any other personal property in the car, loss of future earnings and benefits, and loss of companionship.

Distracted driving injures many motorists, passengers and pedestrians every year in Louisiana. Distracted driving has potentially catastrophic consequences. Cell phone conversations, text messages, stereos, and conversations with passengers are just a few of the distractions that compete for the attention of drivers.

State legislatures are beginning to realize the dangers these distractions pose to drivers and are passing traffic laws making phone conversations and texting while driving illegal and subject to significant fines.

Source: Beauregard Daily News, “Fatal accident on Hwy. 112 near DeRidder,” Linda Barron, Mar. 1, 2012