Despite Colorado Ban on Texting while Driving, Behavior Continues

Sending a text message from behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous kinds of distracted driving, which is often defined as driving without full attention on the road. Texting is considered a very serious driving distraction because it compromises three kinds of human skills needed for safe driving: manual, visual and cognitive – compromised steering wheel handling, eyes off the road and impaired mental attention.

Distracted driving accidents by the numbers

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, more than 421,000 victims nationally in 2012 were hurt in personal injury car accidents in which drivers were distracted. An agency spokesperson said that people are three times more likely to be involved motor vehicle accidents while driving using phones or other electronic devices.

Colorado legislative ban

Colorado has responded legislatively by enacting a texting-while-driving ban for all drivers of any age. In addition, it is illegal in Colorado to use a mobile phone for any purpose if you are a driver under 18. (Both of these bans have exceptions for some emergency situations.)

If a Colorado driver violates one of these bans and thereby causes a motor vehicle accident that hurts, causes catastrophic injury to or kills another driver, or a passenger, pedestrian or other user of the roadway, evidence of the violation could be important evidence of driver negligence in a subsequent civil lawsuit by a victim.

CDOT public safety outreach

CDOT has regularly conducted public outreach to educate Coloradans about the dangers of texting while driving, including the possibility of distracted driving accidents. For example, CDOT’s 2014 “Red Thumb Reminder” campaign asked drivers to paint their thumbnails with red nail polish as a reminder to refrain from texting behind the wheel. Further, members of the public who participate are urged to submit selfies (pictures taken of yourself with your cell phone) to the agency for online posting.

Another 2014 CDOT safety campaign is called “Lose the Blindfold” because sending or reading a text behind the wheel diverts a driver’s eyes from driving activity for 4.6 seconds on average, which equates to driving 55 mph with a blindfold on the length of a football field.

CDOT also announced in June 2014 that several distracted driving accidents related to cell phone use had occurred recently in which state vehicles were struck by distracted drivers.

Seek experienced Colorado legal advice

Anyone in Colorado involved in a motor vehicle accident in which driving while distracted might have contributed should seek advice and representation from a knowledgeable Colorado personal injury attorney. Legal counsel can provide guidance on preserving and enforcing legal rights to potential recovery of monetary damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

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