Buckle Your Seat Belt In Texas And Louisiana
The Lone Star State and Bayou State share a dubious distinction, because according to an insurance company survey, they are the two most dangerous states in the Union, in terms of motor vehicle accidents.
Texas moved from fourth to first on the list, and it is the only state among the top fifteen in all five categories, including drunk driving, speeding, and fatalities per miles driven. In fact, there has been at least one motor vehicle accident fatality on a Texas roadway every day for the last 55,000-plus consecutive days, a period covering sixteen years. Here in Louisiana, failure to obey traffic signals and distracted driving are among the primary culprits, and the Bayou State also ranks near the top (or the bottom, depending on your perspective) in terms of fatalities per miles driven.
South Carolina, North Dakota, Delaware, New Mexico, Nevada, Alabama, Arizona and Montana are the other top-ten most dangerous states.
Car Crash Causes
Excessive velocity, distraction, and impairment are among the top motor vehicle accident causes nationwide, and not just in Louisiana and Texas.
About a third of all fatal crashes are speed-related. Newton’s Second Physical Law states that speed increases the force in collisions, and that law applies on both the inside and the outside. When vehicles stop suddenly because they collide with fixed objects, loose items inside the car, such as cell phones, do not slow down until they too strike fixed objects, like victims’ heads. Externally, the added force that speed brings changes non-injury “fender benders” into serious injury motor vehicle accidents.
Alcohol is also a factor in about a third of fatal crashes, despite a decades-long crackdown against drinking and driving. Impairment typically begins with the first drink, so if there is evidence of consumption, like bloodshot eyes or an odor of alcohol, the jury can concluded that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was also dangerously impaired. Plaintiffs can also establish impairment with direct evidence, like a breath or blood BAC test, and high blood alcohol levels sometimes mean additional punitive damages, especially in Louisiana. Compensatory damages, for economic losses like medical bills and noneconomic losses like emotional distress, are available in all such cases.
Distracted driving is also a major factor in motor vehicle accidents. This category includes cell phone use and any other activity, such as eating while driving, that causes drivers to take:
- Their eyes off the road (visual distraction),
- At least one hand off the wheel (manual distraction), or
- Their minds off driving (cognitive distraction).
Hand held cellphones combine all three forms of distraction; hands-free cellphones aren’t any better, because although they only involve visual and cognitive distraction, they also give drivers a false sense of security.
Motor vehicle accidents kill or injure thousands of Louisianans every year. For a free consultation with Lee Hoffoss or another experienced personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. We are licensed in both Texas and Louisiana.