How many people die in distracted driving crashes in Colorado?
Colorado residents continue to face a serious risk when on the road due to people that choose to text or use phones while driving.
Twenty years ago the use of phones or other electronic devices in vehicles was nothing like it is now. Today, a smartphone is commonly a device that most Colorado residents rarely have out of arm’s reach, even when they are driving. Even as reports have come out showing the dangers of using phones while driving, people continue to do so. Laws have even made it clear that such behavior is not always permitted. Just how serious is this problem in Colorado?
2015 distracted driving deaths more than 2014
The Colorado Department of Transportation has published some statistics confirming the reality that distracted driving is a serious problem in our state. Some of these numbers include the following:
- In 2014, 12 percent of all vehicular fatalities involved some form of distracted driving.
- The following year, 13 percent of all accident deaths were attributed to distracted driving.
- A total of 59 lives were lost to distracted drivers in 2014.
- There were 68 such deaths in 2015.
- Also in 2015, more than 15,000 wrecks are said to have involved a distracted driver.
It appears that people of all ages are prone to distracted driving. Between 2012 and 2014, more than 37 percent of drivers involved in these types of accidents were between the ages of 21 and 34. Understand, these statistics reveal only those incidents where distracted driving was reported. Our experience with these incidents reveals much higher distracted driving related crashes.
Looking beyond the state of Colorado, the problem of distracted driving is also evident. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving is said to be a factor in 16 percent of all fatal accidents. As many as 5,000 lives are lost every year across the United States in these crashes.
Colorado’s stance on distracted driving
Understanding that distracted driving is a serious issue, it is interesting to see how the state is addressing the issue. To date, the laws and penalties related to distracted driving appear to be very weak and rarely enforced, especially if compared to those of other serious risks like drunk driving. No driver is legally allowed to email, text or Twitter while operating a vehicle in Colorado. In addition, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to make or receive calls or otherwise use their phones while driving, even if in a hands-free mode. But cell phone use is permitted in the case of an emergency. A Driver who violates this law may be cited for a Class A traffic infraction and be subject to a $50 fine. Second time offenders are subject to a $100 fine. That is substantially different than the criminal charges and fines that a person arrested for drunk driving faces.
Coloradoans deserve protection from distracted drivers
While our criminal laws fail to enforce and deter distracted driving behaviors as effectively as our drunk driving laws, we still have civil remedies in place to seek compensation after a crash involving a distracted driver. Talking to an experienced attorney who specializes in serious injury cases is critical if you’ve been a victim of a distracted driving incident.