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Put Down the Phone: Distracted Driving Poses Serious Threat

Using a cell phone or other device while behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things that a driver can do. 

Most people understand the risks that come with distracted driving. Still, new research shows drivers are still having a hard time putting down their phones and avoiding other distractions.

About half of drivers admitted to performing at least one device-based task on most or all drives over the past month in a recent survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Those drivers acknowledged the safety risk that their behavior poses but underestimated the extent of the threat, according to IIHS researchers.

“It may come as a surprise, but many drivers still don’t realize how dangerous it is to check a text message or glance at their Instagram feed while they’re zipping along the road,” Aimee Cox, an IIHS research associate and the lead author of the study said in a statement announcing the results.

Delivery and rideshare drivers were most likely to fiddle with devices while behind the wheel, IIHS found. Younger drivers also have a hard time resisting the temptation, the researchers said.

Distracted driving comes in many shapes and sizes, from sipping a coffee or eating behind the wheel to tinkering with a GPS system or checking email on a smartphone.

It is a recipe for disaster because distraction takes motorists’ attention from the road, reducing reaction time and increasing the risk of mistakes. 

Distracted drivers kill at least 3,000 people in accidents every year, accounting for 8% of all traffic deaths, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates. The advocacy group says the actual total is likely higher because it can be difficult for law enforcement officers and others to determine whether a driver was distracted in the aftermath of a collision.

IIHS is recommending a multifaceted approach to combating distracted driving. It includes bolstering distracted driving laws and cracking down on violations, as well as highlighting the serious nature of the risks and using tech and other solutions to make it easier for drivers to ignore the urge to reach for their devices.

“Conventional, practical policy interventions that increase your chances of getting caught using your device when you shouldn’t – whether that means stronger laws, increased enforcement or camera-based ticketing – definitely have a big role to play in reducing distracted driving,” Cox said. “But these survey responses suggest that programs that leverage interpersonal relationships may also be effective.”

Meanwhile, the GHSA has teamed up with automaker General Motors to provide grants to state highway safety offices for work on anti-distracted driving programs. That includes a program in Colorado.

“The Colorado Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office is partnering with distracted driving crash survivors to launch a video contest among high school students, focusing on the counties in the state where more than half of traffic fatalities involve distracted drivers,” according to the GHSA. “Teens will create videos to associate a negative stigma with distracted driving to help spark a change in driver behavior.”

Compensation for Colorado Distracted Driving Accidents

Anyone who is injured in a car accident in Colorado, whether it is caused by a distracted driver or other factors, has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the collision. 

An experienced Denver car accident attorney can help you seek compensation for medical bills, property damages, missed wages and other financial impacts stemming from your injuries. In the tragic event that a person is killed in a distracted driving accident, a lawyer can also help certain family members pursue a wrongful death case.

To get compensation for an accident, you generally have to be able to prove negligence. 

State law requires drivers in Colorado to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means complying with traffic laws and refraining from dangerous activity behind the wheel.

A driver who becomes distracted while operating a vehicle – whether the person is texting or fiddling with GPS controls – is likely to be considered negligent and responsible for any accidents that happen as a result. 

A seasoned lawyer can help you show that the driver was distracted, prove that the distraction caused the crash and detail the injuries stemming from the accident. An attorney can also help you ensure that your auto insurer steps up and provides the full coverage available under your policy.

Rideshare Drivers are the Most Distracted

Rideshare and delivery drivers are four times as likely as others to use smartphone apps regularly while driving, the IIHS found in a recent survey.

“The explosion of smartphone features and services has not only created new forms of driver distraction but also a new group of rideshare and delivery drivers whose jobs require them to interact with their phones while they’re on the road,” IIHS President David Harkey said of the survey results.

Tasks on smartphones – whether it is setting up another ride, checking a customer’s location or simply texting a friend – tend to be more involved, and therefore more distracting, than other common distractions.

Rideshare accidents can raise complicated questions about fault and liability. 

If you are a passenger in a rideshare vehicle and you are injured in a collision caused by another driver, the other driver is likely to be legally responsible for your injuries. You can seek compensation from the driver for medical bills, missed wages and other consequences of the accident. 

If the collision was caused by your rideshare driver, he or she is likely to be liable for your injuries. Uber and Lyft drivers are required to provide proof of insurance when they initially sign up to drive for the companies.

Speak with a Denver Car Accident Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run or other crash in Colorado, a Denver car accident lawyer at Levine Law can help you take action. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver car accident lawyer.

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