According to studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011, an estimated 3,331 people were killed and an additional 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Among drivers between the ages of 15 and 19, who were involved in fatal crashes, approximately 21% were found to be distracted by their cell phones.
The danger of texting
Texting was found to be significantly hazardous — increasing the risk of crash three-fold. This is because texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, or the equivalent that a driver travelling at normal highway speed would take to travel the length of a football field.
Colorado lawmakers – texting while driving is illegal!
In 2009, the Colorado legislature officially banned texting while driving. According to the law, drivers may not text, e-mail or tweet while driving, and, drivers under the age of 18 may not engage in any cell phone use while driving. The law does not include a provision for texting during the case of emergencies.
The bill's legislative sponsors, while applauding the signing of the bill, felt that the final law does not do enough to prevent cell phone usage while driving. Their chief complaint was that the original draft bill also prohibited adults from using cell phones while driving, a practice that is currently banned in 11 states. As a result, when it comes to road safety, the sponsors believe that Colorado’s law is clearly a work-in-progress.
After the accident – next steps
If you or a family member suffers harm in a car crash that was caused by a driver who was texting, your first priority should be to receive prompt medical attention. Afterwards, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as you or your family may be able to sue various parties including the driver and his or her insurance company for damages. Damages can include hospital bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and payment of lost wages.