Distracted driving is a 'dangerous epidemic' in Louisiana

2,500 distracted driving crashes in 2016

April 13, 2017 - 12:58 pm

(WWL.com) -- Distracted driving is an epidemic in Louisiana. That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Dr. Katara Williams, who says last year alone we had over 2,500 crashes that were linked to this risky habit.

She says drivers engage in a lot of distracting behaviors behind the wheel.

“It could be putting on makeup. It could be eating. It could be anything that is a distraction from what you should be focused on, and that is being safe on the roadway,” Williams said.

But the most common practice for Louisiana drivers is using a cell phone while driving. A study from EverQuote ranked the Bayou State dead last in the nation for the percentage of drivers using their phones, with 92 percent admitting to doing it in the past 30 days. Williams says not only is it dangerous, it can be deadly.

“The average text message takes about five seconds to send. That could be the very last five seconds of your life,” Williams said.

Williams says the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has educational campaigns aimed at teaching motorists about the dangers of distracted driving. She says it’s also important for parents to teach their children about these risks and to set good examples for them.

“Putting away their cellphone while they’re driving is a really good practice, especially if you have children or teenagers in the car because they do watch and a lot of times emulate the behaviors that they’re seeing,” Williams said. 

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