Distracted Driving Laws in Colorado
In Colorado, 40 vehicular accidents occur every day because of distracted driving. In the latest statistics published by the Colorado Department of Transportation for 2018, there were 15,289 highway accidents attributed to distracted driving, with 59 deaths resulting. Despite these shocking statistics, nearly 85 percent of Coloradans to this day still admit to being guilty of distracted driving every single day.
Texting while driving in Colorado is prohibited by law with exceptions for public safety, for instance, to report an emergency you’re involved in or have witnessed. Other forms of distracted driving have yet to be positively legislated against. But what if you’re the victim of what appears to have been an accident caused by a distracted driver?
If you live in or near Aurora or Denver, Colorado, reach out to the Gama Law Firm LLC immediately. Our attorneys have a combined 60 years of experience in investigating and resolving personal injury claims that involve auto accident victims, as well as negotiating with insurance companies. Our attorneys can work with you to seek fair and equitable compensation for your injuries and any pain and suffering you’ve had to endure. If necessary, we can even take your claim to court.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving results when the operator of a vehicle is involved in activities that divert their attention away from the road. Classic modern-day examples include texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, but the list expands beyond that to include:
- Responding to children inside the vehicle
- Adjusting the radio
- Checking email
- Grooming (brushing hair, putting on makeup, etc.)
- Posting to social media
- Searching the Internet
- Using GPS or a road map
- Watching a video
Even a driver who is distracted for just five seconds can take a vehicle traveling at 50 mph the length of a football field. How many potential — and avoidable — accidents does that represent?
On top of that, a recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that “cognitive distraction” can take hold for 27 seconds after the first initial five-second distraction. That’s another five or six football fields full of deadly peril.
Understanding Colorado’s Distracted Driving Laws
Texting while driving in Colorado is prohibited by law, but after the failure of a proposed 2019 law requiring hands-free cell phone usage, drivers are still permitted to talk on their cellphones while driving. Bluetooth headphones and headsets are permitted but limited to one ear only.
Drivers under 18 or on learner permits are prohibited from using any cell phone, even if using one hands-free via a headset or BlueTooth.
Colorado law does allow for the use of both voice and text messages to contact public safety agencies in the event that:
- Drivers fear for their own safety
- Drivers believe a criminal act has been perpetrated against them or others
- Drivers are reporting a fire, serious traffic accident, road hazard, or medical emergency
- Drivers wish to report another driver who is operating in a reckless or unsafe manner
Colorado employs what is called the “secondary enforcement method” for policing distracted driving. So long as someone is not driving in a “careless or imprudent manner,” they cannot be pulled over for texting or any other distracted driving issue. They must first break another law to be cited for texting while driving.
If found in violation, however, fines and points can be added to one’s driving record. For drivers under the age of 18, the first offense results in a $50 fine with one point added to their driving record. Subsequent offenses result in $100 fines and another point added to their driving record.
For individuals over the age of 18, the first violation results in a $300 fine and four points added to their driving record. Matters stiffen after that, with fines ranging from $300 to $1,000, all with four points added, and with the potential of one year in prison. These citations and added points can also rapidly escalate one’s insurance premiums.
Rely on a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident, you should follow all standard safety procedures. Pull the vehicle over, call for help for those injured, and contact the police to conduct an investigation. You should also notify your insurance company as soon as possible — but don’t stop there.
If you or anyone else in your car was injured in the accident, you should seek the assistance of a Colorado personal injury attorney to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the accident and work with you to file a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can also negotiate with the insurance companies and protect your rights at every turn.
If your attorney can prove that the other driver was texting or was otherwise distracted while driving when the accident occurred, that can add the element of negligence and/or recklessness to your argument for compensation. If a police investigation does not unveil this aspect, you may need a skilled attorney who can obtain testimony from any witnesses or passengers riding with the other driver.
Regardless of the unique circumstances of your individual case, our firm has over six decades of combined experience dealing with insurance companies for personal injury claims. At the Gama Law Firm, we will work with you to obtain the compensation and results that you deserve. Remember, you have three years to file a claim in Colorado for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, so don’t brush these matters aside or hesitate. You have legal rights that need to be protected.
If you live in Aurora or Denver, Colorado, or nearby in Parker, Centennial, or Castle Pines, get in touch with our firm today. Our experienced attorneys will listen to your story, investigate the details of your case, and work with you to pursue the best possible outcome for your situation. Call now to schedule a free initial case consultation!