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Online study: drivers distracted by group chats, social media

Distracted driving, a widespread issue in Louisiana and elsewhere, was the subject of a new online study from the market research firm Wakefield Research. Nearly 2,000 drivers from across the nation responded to it. The results were recently shared by Root Insurance, a company known for providing insurance discounts to drivers who avoid phone use.

According to the study, respondents admitted to using their phones for an average of 13 minutes a day while behind the wheel. About 52% cited group chats, including text and email chains with multiple people, as the one phone-related distraction that they would most frequently engage in on the road. Another 33% said the same for social media, including newsfeeds and even memes, while 18% said it for the streaming of videos.

Ironically, nearly half of respondents said that distractions are their highest concern as drivers, and 99% acknowledged that phones are among the top three driver distractions. They also criticized distracted behavior in others; 89%, for instance, said they would leave a bad rating on ride-hailing drivers who text, and 39% even said they have done so before.

Moreover, the presence of law enforcement does not compel nearly two in five drivers to put down their phones. It remains to be seen how safety groups and law enforcement can address such dangerous behaviors.

Victims of motor vehicle accidents have the right to file a claim and be reimbursed for their losses if they can show that negligence on the other side caused the accident. In a case involving distracted driving, a victim may need to bring up the other's phone records, for example, to ensure a strong case. This is where legal guidance may come in handy. A lawyer might hire investigators to handle this aspect before proceeding to negotiations.

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