April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Driver distraction is a contributing factor in many crashes. In Louisiana, 678 people were killed in 2021 because of some distraction either inside or outside the vehicle, and another 23,089 people suffered a serious injury. While the specific type of distraction is underreported, we know that 11 people died in crashes involving a handheld mobile phone or other electronic device, and 1,011 more people were seriously injured.
Although cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions, any activity that takes a driver's mind off of the task of driving, hands off of the steering wheel, or eyes off of the road is considered a distraction. Many states and local jurisdictions are passing laws that prohibit these behaviors.
Louisiana has enacted legislation that bans texting for all drivers, hands-free usage in school zones, and no cell phone usage (unless hands-free) for drivers holding a Class "E" learner's license or intermediate license. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that 6 out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction and more than half of teen drivers reported using a cell phone while driving and more than 1 in 4 reported typing or sending a text message while driving in the past 30 days.