Car Accidents in Colorado: The Dangers of Distracted Driving
In April 2012, a few seconds of inattention on an isolated Thornton, Colorado, road upended the life of the driver and literally took the lives of two of the three pedestrians he struck with his pickup, who died on the scene. The three were walking along East 168th Avenue’s dirt shoulder-in most places too narrow for a car to pull off onto-traffic zooms by at 45 m.p.h. and often faster. Police determined that the driver was using his cellphone at the time of the accident and veered off the road and crashed into the victims. The driver was charged with two counts of careless driving resulting in death and one count of careless driving resulting in injury.
Each day in the United States, more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in motor vehicle crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver-a driver who takes his or her eyes off the road, his or her hands off the wheel, or his or her mind off the business of driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 416,000 people injured in 2010. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that distracted driving was the cause of 16 percent of fatal crashes and 80 percent of all crashes.
Text messaging and use of cell phones while driving is clearly a significant distraction causing or contributing to automobile crashes. We undoubtedly have all encountered a driver with a cell phone in their ear or in their hands while attempting to control their vehicle.
In Colorado, the legislature has responded by enacting legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving. Any driver under 18 years of age is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving-including phone calls, text messaging, or similar forms of manual data entry and transmission. Drivers over the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone to text-message, or send similar forms of transmission, while behind the wheel. Regular cell phone use for voice calls is permitted. Exceptions to the law are provided during a public safety emergency or during an emergency, such as reporting of a person who is driving in a reckless, careless, or unsafe manner or when a person has reason to fear for his or her life or safety .
Anyone who has suffered an accident with someone who they believe was driving while distracted should seek the advice of an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney to adequately evaluate the circumstances of their case.
The Sawaya Law Firm is Denver’s personal injury law firm. With over 40 years of experience and a compassionate team prepared to listen to your story, The Sawaya Law Firm is here to help. Contact us anytime.