Distracted driving is a growing problem that can have deadly consequences. Distracted driving is defined as any behavior that takes your attention away from driving.
Do You Know the Shocking Truth About Distracted Driving?
Texting and driving increases your chances of crashing by over 23 percent. Texting is not the only dangerous distraction. Other examples of distracted driving are eating, changing the radio station, or navigating a GPS system. Driving distractions can be:
- Visual – eyes off the road
- Manual – hands off the wheel
- Or cognitive – thinking about things other than driving
Texting essentially distracts you in all three ways, which makes it especially risky.
Statistics on Texting and Driving
Here are a few statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA)
- There are a total of 3,142 deaths per year caused by distracted driving
- In the U.S. in 2018 alone, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver
- Distracted driving plays a role in 5.9% of fatal crashes in the US
- Texting while driving is the 5th leading cause of traffic deaths after speeding, drugs, alcohol and right of way violations.
- About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not in vehicles―they bikers and pedestrians.
- Teenagers are the most susceptible to contribute to texting related driving fatalities than any other group.
- Distracted drivers appear in almost every age group
- Drivers aged 20-29 make up only 23% of the driving population but account for 27% of distracted drivers.
Texting and talking on the phone are by far the riskiest habit of young drivers. Traffic fatalities involving teenagers have been disproportionately highly attributed to talking and texting while driving. The statistics reflect an urgency to educate all drivers how dangerous it can be to use cellphones while driving.
Texting and Driving Laws
- Texting while driving is banned in 48 US states.
- All states have at least some laws restricting texting or driving among certain age groups or in certain driving zones.
- No state completely bans cell phone use while driving under all circumstances.
- Thirty-six (36) states ban hand-held cell phone use among young drivers.
- About half of the states prohibit hand-held cell phone use while driving.
- Consequences or people found guilty of texting and driving can range from monetary fines, tickets, criminal charges, license suspension to insurance penalties, or remorse for injuries or damages they caused.
Does Colorado Have Laws Against Distracted Driving?
Texting while driving is a misdemeanor traffic offense in the State of Colorado. Colorado allows drivers to talk on handheld cell phones. In 2019, a bill that intended to require hand-free driving passed through the state senate but did not gain approval from the house. Despite the bill failing to go through, there is still a fight to put and end to cell phone use while driving.
Here are the current distracted driving laws in the state of Colorado:
- It is illegal to text while driving.
- Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use cellphones while driving.
- Drivers of all ages who have a learner’s permit are not to use any cell phones while driving.
- Texting and driving is punishable by up to a $300 fine and 4 points on your driving record
Are There Exceptions to the Distracted Driving Laws in Colorado?
There is one exception to Colorado’s distracted driving law: to contact public safety. All drivers are permitted to use a wireless device for calls or sending or receiving texts to public safety entities. These types of emergencies would also permit cell phone use while driving:
- If there is a reason for the driver to fear for their life of their safety
- If the driver believes that he or she is about to be the victim of a criminal act
- If the driver is reporting a fire, serious traffic accident, serious road hazard, or a medical emergency
- If the driver is reporting a person who is driving in a reckless, careless, or unsafe manner
How Do I Stop Texting While Driving?
Here are some tips on how to stop texting while driving:
- Leave your phone in the back of your car or somewhere out of reach while driving.
- Take care of business that you need to do before you drive. Make texts or calls that you want to send before you start your journey.
- Get familiarized with your local laws regarding texting and cellphone use while driving.
- Understand the dangers of texting and driving and how it poses a higher risk for car accidents.
- Take breaks if you need to. If you must check your phone, pull over to do so.
What Can I Do if Someone Is Texting While Driving?
The safest thing to do if you see someone else texting and driving is to drive defensively. Keep extra distance between yourself and the distracted driver. It’s important to leave extra room so that you have ample time to respond if their driving turns erratic or negligent. Distracted driving increases the likelihood of a crash. Therefore, it’s important to safeguard yourself as best you can while driving near a distracted driver.
If you see someone texting while driving, they are posing a danger to the public. You can report the dangerous driver to law enforcement. If you see a commercial driver texting while driving, you might take down their license plate to inform the employer of their negligence. Whatever the case, prioritize creating space between your vehicle and the offending driver.
Can I Sue for Texting and Driving?
You are entitled to sue someone for texting and driving if you sustain injuries in an accident as a result of their negligence. Texting and driving is willful negligence that is hazardous for other drivers on the road. If someone is reading or sending a text while driving, they are distracted from their task of driving. They would be considered liable for any injuries or damages caused by their distracted driving.
Proving that the other driver was texting prior to the accident will be a critical requirement if you want to file a claim against them. You will need evidence to validate your claims in court. An official police report, eyewitness testimony, or a subpoena for the negligent driver’s phone records might be able to provide insight into the facts of the incident.
Contact an Attorney for Texting and Driving Accidents
If you were the victim of an accident caused by a driver who was texting, contact a Denver car accident attorney today for your free consultation. Texting while driving is not only careless, but also preventable. If someone else’s negligent driving has caused you physical, emotional and financial damages, it may be in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney about filing a claim for compensation.