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Car Accidents in Louisiana: Top Ten Causes

Posted in Car Accidents on April 24, 2021

Car accidents are an all too common occurrence with nearly 700 fatal crashes resulting in over 700 deaths occurring in Louisiana in 2019. In 2020, there were nearly 65 injuries for every 1,000 citizens. While any number of circumstances can cause an accident, certain causes are far more common.

Read on to understand ten of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in Louisiana.

Alcohol-Related Crashes

In 2019, 39% of fatal motor vehicle crashes involved alcohol. Alcohol increases the probability of a car accident because alcohol consumption limits the driver’s ability to make sound driving choices and to react quickly to any obstacles on the road.

Louisiana law forbids a person from operating a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or greater or if under the influence of alcohol. The broad language “under the influence” means that even a driver whose BAC is below .08% could be found to violate this law if their driving was impaired. Evidence of impairment includes a failed field sobriety test, slurred speech, erratic driving, and any evidence of an elevated BAC.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is clear evidence that the impaired driver acted negligently — or even intentionally — to cause the accident and any resulting injuries.

Distracted Driving

It is becoming increasingly common for drivers to check a phone or send a text while driving. While this can feel productive, it takes driver attention away from the road. Once a driver loses focus on driving, it greatly increases the risk of an accident. While distraction from electronic devices is common, driver distraction can occur in any number of ways including from vehicle passengers or eating.

Louisiana law prohibits drivers from using a wireless telecommunication device to write, send, or read a text message while on any public road or highway. The importance of combating distracted driving is obvious when you look at the numbers. Between 2011-2015, almost 200 people were killed and nearly 27,000 were injured because of some distraction inside or outside the vehicle.

Speeding

A shocking two-thirds of vehicles traveling on U.S. roads exceed the posted speed limit. Speeding drastically increases the odds of a collision. When a driver is speeding, they have less time to react to a road hazard or unexpected circumstance. The vehicle requires more distance to come to a controlled stop, and the driver is more likely to lose control of the vehicle in poor weather conditions.

In addition to increasing the chances a collision will occur, serious injuries or fatalities are also more likely. When a driver is speeding, there is a higher likelihood that the force of impact in a collision will be more intense. The more intense the force of impact, the more jarring to the passengers.

Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving is a major cause of accidents in the United States, causing 83,000 crashes each year. In a survey, approximately one of 25 adults over the age of 18 reported falling asleep while driving in the last 30 days. Drowsy driving makes drivers less attentive, slows the driver’s reaction time, and affects the driver’s ability to make decisions. These are all critical components to safe driving. Certain drivers are more likely to drive drowsy, including commercial truck drivers, shift workers, and drivers using prescription medicine.

The risks of drowsy driving are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol and are even more dangerous when combined with alcohol.

Running Red Light or Stop Sign

Traffic lights and traffic signs exist for a reason — to create a safe flow of traffic for all on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers disregard or fail to notice these traffic signals causing accidents, injuries, and death.

Failure to comply with traffic signals often cause head-on and T-bone collisions which are incredibly dangerous.

Weather or Road Conditions

Inclement weather, road construction, or anything else that affects road conditions increase the likelihood of a collision. While any driver is susceptible to a collision when these conditions are bad, the risks increase for drivers with some other risk factor, such as driving under the influence, distracted driving, or speeding.

It is each driver’s responsibility to remain attentive to the road and weather conditions and to react and adjust their driving accordingly.

Failure to Yield

Drivers must follow all traffic laws and regulations as well as exhibit good sense. This includes the requirement to yield in certain scenarios, such as taking a left turn on a green light, when a car merges aggressively and sideswipes another, or when a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Less protected individuals such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are at a particularly high risk of a failure to yield accident because they are less visible to drivers.

Vehicle Defects

Vehicle defects can cause accidents or increase injuries. If a tire blows, it can cause an accident on the road, and if an airbag fails to inflate, it can significantly increase the severity of injuries. Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for the safety of the vehicles they produce and sell.

Failure to Check Blind Spot

All too easily a driver can forget to check a blind spot before changing lanes or any other time when also using the side mirror. While this can seem to be a small oversight, it can come with big consequences. Commercial trucks have large blind spots, and a failure to check can result in a major accident with another vehicle. Smaller modes of transportation such as bicycles and motorcycles are often not visible in a side mirror, so checking the blind spot is essential to avoid a collision. It is the responsibility of a driver to always check their blind spot.

Tailgating

The screech of brakes followed by a smash is the telltale sound of a crash resulting from tailgating. Laws dictate the required distance between vehicles, and they exist for a reason. If a driver follows another vehicle too closely, there is often insufficient time to brake or otherwise react to the movements of the car in front of the driver.

The ten examples above are some of the most common causes of car accidents, but The Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC is experienced in assisting victims of all types of car accidents. Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation.