Car Accidents and Cell Phones – A Dangerous Mix
Colorado car accident attorney wants you to be safe on the road and know what to do if you’re in an accident with someone talking on a cell phone
Our Denver car accident attorneys have extensive experience handling injury cases. It doesn’t matter if you have a minor scrape or a major collision, we are here for you.
Across Colorado and the U.S., cell phones and car accidents almost go hand in hand. Being distracted while talking on a cell phone accounts for 25% of all car accidents in fact.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see the danger in talking or even worse, texting while driving.
Some other facts and statistics to consider that should give any driver or parent pause:
- Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to cause a car accident than driver intoxication
- Nearly 50% of young drivers (age 16-24) are texting while driving
- Young drivers talking on cell phones can possibly reduce their reaction time to that of a 70-year old driver
- Over 80% of car accidents are caused by distracted driving
These facts alone are staggering to consider which is why it’s important to keep your attention on the road at all times. Pull over to talk on the phone or get a hands free device. Don’t text while driving at all. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s easy to see how it can be the cause of so many tragic accidents.
Here are a few ways accidents can happen when a driver is using their cell phone:
- Distraction from a conversation (especially if it’s emotional) or even a passengers’ conversation
- Driving with only one hand on the steering wheel
- Taking eyes off the road to reach for a phone, dial a number or type a text message
- These distractions cause drivers to divert attention from their surroundings
Despite increasing restrictions on cell phone use and driving and the multitude of statistics and warnings, many teenage and adult drivers simply ignore any warnings and use their phones while driving.
In an effort to stem the danger of cell phones and car accidents, Colorado law bans texting and driving for all drivers and cell phone use for drivers under 18.
But accidents still happen which is why it’s not only important you heed these warnings, but also know what to do if you’re in a car accident involving another driver using a cell phone.
Colorado car accident attorney helps motorists affected by distracted drivers obtain compensation for damages and injuries
If you’re involved in an accident with someone who was talking or texting on their cell phone, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party.
There are several ways for determining fault in an auto accident in Colorado. One of those ways is the traffic laws and whether the other driver was breaking any of them. As you know from earlier, Colorado does have laws on texting and driving.
Police reports of the accident are also one way to prove fault and negligence in a car accident. If the report says the other driver was on their phone when the accident occurred, you could claim he/she was negligent and responsible for your damages and injuries.
If you’re involved in an accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention for any injuries. Call the Police and have them complete a report. Beyond that, you should take photographs of the damage AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information for any future testimony.
Now it is possible for you to be on a cell phone and the accident still be considered the other driver’s fault. In these cases, your settlement could be reduced if it’s determined you’re partly at fault for the accident.
Of course, if someone dies as a result of a distracted driver on their cell phone, then it becomes a wrongful death suit. While these suits are slightly different, you still must prove negligence on the part of the other driver.
If you or a loved one has been involved in car accident resulting from another driver’s cell phone use or if you’re having trouble obtaining fair compensation from your insurance company, contact a Colorado car accident attorney at the Babcock Law Firm today.
Plaintiffs who hire a car accident attorney generally receive much higher settlement amounts for their cases. Don’t be left holding the bag for someone else’s carelessness.
Texting While Driving
Colorado attorney R. Mack Babcock helps victims of auto accidents caused by texting while driving obtain compensation and justice
If you were to look into the source of many auto accidents, you would find one common denominator: distraction. In today’s society, there are more things vying for our attention than ever before. Without a doubt, the most common and dangerous of these is text messaging.
To address the growing problem of distraction, federal and state governments nationwide are working together to enforce strict laws against texting behind the wheel, as well as raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through websites like NHTSA.gov.
Teens and young drivers are especially prone to cell phone-related crashes because of their inexperience behind the wheel and susceptibility to distractions. Therefore, many states have focused their prevention efforts on this demographic.
Statistics on Cell Phone Use Behind the Wheel
It becomes obvious that texting and cell phone use when operating a vehicle is a serious problem once you consider the data. For example, a study out of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute determined that every time a driver receives or sends a text, they take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. While this may not seem like much at first, consider that for a driver traveling at 55 mph, this means roughly the equivalent of a driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
So if texting while driving is so dangerous, what is being done to stop it?
Texting and Driving Law in Colorado
According to Colorado law, novice drivers —which are any drivers under the age of 18— are prohibited from using a cell phone (both handheld and hands-free devices) in any way when operating a vehicle. Colorado went one step further in 2009 by banning texting for all drivers—adults and teens.
During certain emergencies, the law does allow the use of cell phones or texting while operating a vehicle. These rare exceptions are:
- If you have reason to fear for your life or safety
- If you witness a criminal act or believe one may occur
- To report a fire, traffic accident, road hazards, and medical or hazardous materials
- To report a person driving in a reckless, careless or unsafe manner
Drivers caught texting behind the wheel in any other instance will face a $50 fine for the first offense and $100 for the second. However, these fines are nothing compared with the cost of injuring or killing another person in a car crash.
Talk To an Experienced Denver Lawyer Specializing in Distracted Driving
While the laws regarding texting and driving are clear, injury lawsuits that arise from distraction-caused motor vehicle collisions often are not. Not only must accident victims prove that the other driver was at fault, but cases typically are delayed by liability disputes and calculating the total cost of damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact us today to learn how representation works or schedule a completely free consultation to discuss your case with Denver attorney R. Mack Babcock today.
Study Shows Why “Hands-Free” Doesn’t Mean Risk Free
While as a nation we are making great strides in reducing auto accidents through banning texting and restricting cell phone use while driving, there is still a lot more work to do to make distracted driving-related fatalities a thing of the past.
For instance, it’s common knowledge that cell phones, mp3 players, and other handheld technology is a serious distraction behind the wheel. That’s why many people have switched to Bluetooth-enabled phones, speech-to-text email systems, and other hands-free devices that allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.
But according to a new study, hands-free devices may not be the promised solution to the problem, but rather the cause of an entirely different kind of distraction.
Sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers at the University of Utah Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving conducted an in-depth study on hands-free technology, seeking an answer to whether or not these devices really help reduce driver distraction. What they found surprised almost everyone—that drivers who used hands-free devices to make a call were only slightly less distracted than those who used a handheld phone.
In the experiment, drivers were set up with a brain-measuring device that recorded their level of distraction. They then performed a series of tasks, which included listening to music, a book on tape, talking to a passenger, and having a conversation on a handheld cell phone. Next, the driver performed three hands-free tasks—using a hands-free phone, speech-to-text email system, and an auditory version of the Operation Span (OSPAN) task.
From this, the researchers concluded that drivers using a hands-free device were about the same level of distractedness as when talking to a passenger, and those who used speech-to-text systems were 3 times as distracted as a driver listening to the radio.
Unfortunately, public awareness about hands-free devices and their correlation to distracted driving continues to be overshadowed by the general belief that all you need are your hands and eyes to drive safely.
There are three levels of being distracted, according to the government’s official site targeting distracted driving. The first two distractions are visual and manual, which relate to taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. The last type of distraction—and what the AAA study focused on—is cognitive, which applies to instances where a person takes their mind off of driving.
While hands-free devices can help reduce manual and some visual distraction, they still cause a driver’s mind to be elsewhere when it should be focused on safely operating their vehicle.
“This [study] clearly suggests that the adoption of voice-based systems in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety,” concludes Utah researchers.
The best action you can take to prevent a car accident is to consider your own safety and the safety of others first by making sure your eyes, hands, and mind are focused on driving alone.
Leave the daydreaming and emails for another time.
Continue reading these related articles for more information…
- Defensive Driving – How You Can Prevent Auto Collisions and Save Money Too
- 5 Duties Every Driver Has to Act with Reasonable Care
- Keeping Your Teen Driver Safe on Colorado’s Roads
**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice