According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving causes an average of 9 deaths every day and over 1,000 car-accident-related injuries. There are many different types of distractions but the most common, and most dangerous one, is texting. Not only is it dangerous, it’s also illegal in most states to text while driving, including Colorado. The only exception is for emergencies while driving in Colorado.
In this blog, we’ll discuss Colorado’s texting and driving laws, why it’s so dangerous, and how you can prevent accidents by refraining from texting and driving.
Colorado Springs Texting and Driving Laws
Since House Bill 09-1094 in 2009, it’s been illegal to text and drive in Colorado. The bill banned cell phone use while driving for drivers under 18. For all drivers, regardless of age, e-mailing, texting, twittering, or any other cell phone use that requires using both hands are not permitted. Cell Phone use is permitted for use in emergency situations such as:
- Reporting a fire, accident, road hazard, medical emergency, or criminal act
- Reporting a reckless driver to law enforcement
- If the driver feels that their safety is threatened or fear for their lives
Texting and Driving Is Dangerous
Cell phones today are used for everything from pictures and navigation to entertainment and social media. Driving requires a mix of visual, cognitive, and physical dedication and texting is a distraction in all of those categories.
This means you take your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and your focus away from driving. Many people falsely underestimate the danger of texting and driving because it’s such a big part of our everyday lives. However ,the reality is that humans are not designed to be good at multitasking, especially when the stakes involve injuring others or causing severe accidents.
Research shows that texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of driving distractions, comparable to drunk driving; it can significantly impair driving abilities. What makes texting so dangerous? Well, similar to alcohol, it has various negative effects on driving, including:
- Delaying reaction time
- Creating a cognitive, visual, and mental distraction from the act of driving
- Creates a higher likelihood of causing the driver to swerve or lose control of the wheel
Studies reveal that texting increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times. The risk for injuries and death also rises significantly when people text and drive.
It takes five seconds to read the average text message which is a long time in terms of driving. At 55mph, you can travel the length of an entire football field in 5 seconds. And lookin at your back and forth from traffic to your phone, the brain still needs about three seconds to focus again after diverting your attention away from driving. Texting and driving simply doesn’t work and becomes exponentially more dangerous if you do it while speeding.
April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Colorado
Texting and other distractions are a growing concern in Colorado – so much so that the Colorado Department of Transportation is urging drivers to officially designate April as distracted driving awareness month. The campaign is meant to change driving behavior behind the wheel and encourage drivers to refrain from distracted driving.
According to data from CDOT, Colorado observed 65 traffic fatalities associated with distracted driving in 2021. As a result, 72 people died on the roadways that year. Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Manager for CDOT, explained that Distracted Driving Awareness Month is all about raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
Texting and Driving Statistics in Colorado Springs
Furthermore, in 2022, CDOT conducted a driver behavior survey and found that the biggest distractions for drivers are eating, drinking, and cell phone use, and selecting entertainment.
The CDOT survey also revealed that 4 out of 5 drivers reported instances of texting while driving and that men are more likely to text and drive than women.
Despite Colorado’s laws prohibiting texting and driving, people continue to do it. Cole advises selecting your entertainment before starting the trip and staying off the phone for the entirety of your trip. He also encourages people to pull over if they need to send a text or make a call.
Why Do So Many People Text and Drive?
Texting and driving is simply irresponsible and completely avoidable. Unless a driver has a life-threatening or other high-risk emergency situation where they need to use the phone while driving, it’s best to try to avoid it. Texting and driving means you are willing to risk yours and the safety of others on the roadways.
While it’s obvious that it’s dangerous and illegal, people continue to text and drive every day. There are two main reasons why people feel the need to text while driving: gratification and overestimating their driving abilities.
Texting Activates Reward Centers in Your Brain
Scientific studies show that texting or posting on social media affect the reward centers of our brain and release dopamine. Even this small chemical release can impair our judgment, similar to the effects of a drug and override the driver’s ability to make a safe decision. In other words, some people are literally addicted to social media. Due to this “instant gratification”, drivers still choose to text or use their headphones for social media and other hand-required activities, despite being well aware of the dangers.
Drivers Tend to Overestimate Their Abilities
Evidence from research also suggests that drivers have a tendency to overestimate their ability to multitask. Despite scientific evidence that shows people perform worse when they multitask, people still have a false sense of confidence in their abilities to text and drive. Multi-tasking is forcing your brain to switch between two different tasks rapidly, which can be deadly while driving.
Tips to Stop Distracted Driving
Most states have laws in place regarding texting and driving, but that still doesn’t stop people. Here are some ways you can try to better regulate yourself on the road and avoid texting while driving:
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” or silent mode while driving
- Put it in your back seat where you can’t reach it while driving so you aren’t tempted
- Pull over if you absolutely need to use your phone
- Plan your trip and familiarize yourself with your route ahead of time
Colorado Springs Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer
If you are injured from an accident caused by a texting driver, you need skilled legal counsel. You should not have to face all the medical bills and accident-related expenses without proper financial recovery, especially after a negligent driver’s poor choices.
Medical bills add up quickly and can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re also missing work due to your injuries, you’re probably feeling the stress rise as your finances take a blow. The good news in all of this is that by working with a seasoned, well-versed personal injury lawyer, you can seek compensatory damages for everything you’ve been through .
Texting and driving is simply irresponsible and if they caused your injuries, you can hold them legally accountable. Call us today to see how we can help with your case.
Your initial consultation is free so there’s no risk and no obligation on your end.