The local area has repeatedly been hit in the last two weeks with an unusually high number of fatalities on the roads.

The local area has repeatedly been hit in the last two weeks with an unusually high number of fatalities on the roads.

Motorcycle and auto accidents are often preventable, said Police Chief John Gott, DeRidder Police Department.

Gott said, distractions while driving play a significant factor in vehicle accidents. "The easiest thing is to pay attention, and avoid distractions inside the car."

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

One of the biggest distractions is texting. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Driving safely is not possible unless the task of driving has one's full attention. Engaging in any non-driving activity in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Being an alert, defensive driver is essential. If a driver is paying attention, he or she may see somebody who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or falling asleep, and be able to avoid an accident, said Gott. Even the person who is not the cause of an accident can be proactive by watching out for risky behaviors on the road.

Preventing accidents can be as simple as minding and driving within the law, said Gott. "Laws are in place for safety. We are nation of laws for our protections. They are not there to restrict anybody or make revenue for someone in the form of giving out tickets. It's made for our safety and our protection."

Plain and straightforward-- wear seat belts and helmets, avoid distractions, be on the lookout for others' driving, and never drive under the influence, or while excessively tired.

"When you look up, your whole world has changed, in an instant," said Gott. "And it could have been avoided."