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Distracted driving causes serious injuries and death in Colorado

This month is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Colorado Department of Transportation is running a campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers of driving while distracted. Being distracted behind the wheel can result in serious or fatal injuries not only to the driver but also to passengers and anyone else on the road. CDOT likens it to wearing a blindfold for roughly five seconds, during which time just about anything can happen.

For instance, a driver texting while behind the wheel requires an average of 4.6 seconds per text. In terms of distance, that is roughly the distance from end zone to end zone on a football field at a speed of 55 mph. During that time and for that distance, the driver is not paying attention to the road.

In 2012, over 421,000 people suffered injuries in accidents caused by a driver that was somehow distracted. CDOT says it will spend the month of April distributing posters, brochures and clings for windows, reminding drivers that distractions are like putting on a blindfold. Like any other campaign, however, some people will continue to put themselves and others in jeopardy by driving distracted.

When that happens, those drivers could find themselves facing criminal and civil actions related to the injuries -- fatal or otherwise -- their actions caused. Medical expenses and lost wages can add up quickly when a Colorado victim has to be hospitalized for any length of time. Further, when a family member dies unexpectedly in an accident, most families are not prepared for the costs associated with that death. Successfully litigated claims for wrongful death or personal injury could result in awards for damages that could provide the financial compensation needed to cover those unexpected monetary losses.

Source: gazette.com, "Distracted? If you're driving you shouldn't be", Garrison Wells, April 5, 2014

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