It's a common sight as you drive around Lake Charles: people talking on their cellphones while they're behind the wheel of their moving vehicle. Young, old and in-between do it, often unaware of the risks involved.
It is customary in the first days of a new year to look both backwards and forwards in time. So let's take a quick look at how auto safety has improved in the recent past and what we can expect in the days ahead.
As Lake Charles motorists head out onto Interstate 10 to visit friends and family for the holidays, they will share the road with the most dangerous things on wheels: tractor-trailers. Among the most deadly motor vehicle crashes are truck underride accidents that take place when passenger cars collide with 18-wheelers.
For car accident victims, one of the most pressing questions after the crash is, "How will I get my medical bills paid?"
Lake Charles sits between two of America's great cities: Houston, Texas, and Louisiana's own New Orleans. So it is not surprising to see holiday travelers on Interstate 10 headed from one to the other, and to see thousands more coming here to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.
There are no bigger, heavier, more dangerous vehicles rolling through Lake Charles than the 18-wheelers roaring along Interstate 10. Because big rigs are slow to stop and difficult to maneuver, the behemoths are unwieldy; especially so at highway speeds. Two factors that make giant commercial vehicles even more dangerous to be near: fatigued or distracted truckers.
In a car accident, when you suffer an injury due to no fault of your own, it's easy to assume that your medical care and other needs will be taken care of. Why? Because you have insurance, and that is what insurance is for. Right?
Earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that self-driving cars have arrived. "They can drive on the highway," she said, "Follow the white lines on the highway, and there's really no need for any person to be seated and controlling any of the instruments."
There is no doubt of the hold that electronics have on Americans. While electronic devices give us easy access to a world of information (you are reading this on an electronic device, after all), that ease tempts people to read and watch instead of sleeping, working and perhaps worst of all, keeping their eyes on the road while driving.
All of the petrochemical plants and manufacturing facilities in the Lake Charles area have workplace safety guidelines. If you work in one of these industries, you know they are heavily regulated.