The Dangers of Distracted Driving
In 2016 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 67 people in Colorado. Sixty-seven family members and friends. Sixty-seven loved ones gone for the sake of writing a text, answering a phone call, or completing some other unnecessary action.
Distracted driving occurs when the driver focuses on anything other than driving—even if it’s only for a moment or two. In a national survey, 98 percent of respondents said they know distracted driving is dangerous. Sadly, 75 percent of respondents admitted to driving distracted at some point anyway.
The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates that about 40 crashes occur daily because of distracted driving. Unfortunately, the true number of crashes caused by distracted driving each day is likely even higher, as some don’t admit they were distracted at the time of the crash and there is no foolproof method of proving distraction.
Cell phone usage is one of the most common—and perhaps the most dangerous—forms of distracted driving. The action of using your phone takes you away from the task of driving in every sense. To use your phone, you have to move your hand off the steering wheel, focus your eyes on the screen, and think about what you are seeing there.
The average text message only takes about five seconds to send, but in that time, a car traveling 55 mph can travel the length of a football field—with its driver essentially blinded.
In the hope of reducing phone usage while in the driver’s seat, Colorado law declares that adults using cell phones while driving in a “careless or imprudent manner” will be subject to fines up to $300 and four points on their driver’s licenses. Further, any phone usage at all while in the driver’s seat is illegal for minors.
In addition to dangerous cell phone usage, other distractions from driving include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Caring for children and/or pets
- Talking to a passenger
- Grooming (applying makeup or attending to other personal hygiene needs)
Ways to prevent distracted driving
Decide it can wait. Whether it’s your phone, your food, or your makeup, decide now that it can be taken care of when—and only when—you are safely parked. Unless you’re traveling a long distance (in which case this would be an excellent excuse for a rest stop), it won’t delay you more than a few minutes and won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Remove the temptation. There are several apps available that stop your phone from giving off the all-tempting notifications while driving. Some of them even block your phone’s screen completely once you reach a certain speed, making playing on your phone no longer an option while in the driver’s seat.
Model safe driving habits for your children. If parents say it’s bad to text and drive, but still do it on occasion, those actions are going to speak louder than the words. Their children will grow up to become like those 75 percent of the national survey respondents, knowing that distracted driving is dangerous, but deciding it’s okay to do it on occasion anyway.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash that involved distracted driving in Colorado, personal injury attorneys at Bachus and Schanker, LLC may be able to help you find the peace you deserve. Contact us for a free case consultation to see if teaming up with our personal injury lawyers is the right move for you and your family.
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