The Dangers of Distracted Driving In Colorado
In 2016, distracted driving caused 40 accidents in Colorado per day, and in 2015 15,574 accidents and 68 deaths occurred due to distracted driving. Each year these numbers are rising making it clear that distracted driving has turned into an epidemic in Colorado. Although distracted driving is a problem across all age groups, teen drivers are the most likely to participate in distracted driving habits. From texting, eating, or focusing on passengers these types of accidents can occur at any moment. It’s a scary trend and teaching teens about the dangers of distracted driving is as crucial as ever.
In the state of Colorado, distracted driving is considered as any act of driving while engaged in anything—texting, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating, or reading—that takes a driver’s focus away from the road. For most “invincible” teens, it is easy to think that their driving expertise will keep them safe, but in reality taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds or making one small mistake can lead to disaster or even death. According to Impact Teen Drivers, teen driver crashes are the leading cause of death for our nation’s youth and the majority of these crashes are caused by distraction or inexperience. As mentioned before, it is crucial for teens to be educated on roadway safety and understand that everyone’s safety depends on their careful attention to the road. Luckily, Colorado and many others states in the U.S. have created laws for young drivers in order to prevent distracted driving and keep all roads safe.
Distracted Driving Laws for Colorado Teens
In late 2009, Colorado passed House Bill 09-1094. This bill states that drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any kind of wireless telephone while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices. This is a “primary law”, meaning an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness any other violation. In order to be convicted, a law enforcement officer must see you texting and driving. The first offense of breaking this law involves a $50 fine and $6 surcharge; the second offense involves a $100 fine and $6 surcharge. Even if the driver only receives a ticket consequences such as fines, suspension, and increased insurance rates can also occur. Even worse, an accident involving distracted driving could leave a teen responsible for injury or death.
What Is Distracting Colorado Teens?
Distracted driving can be caused by just about anything. Teens are especially tempted by these distractions. Check out the list of common distractions below:
- Smartphone browsing
- Eating and drinking
- Grooming or applying makeup
- Conversations with passengers
- GPS navigation systems
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or mp3 player
- Driving while stressed
- Driving under the influence
Putting Distracted Driving to an End
There are many things that can be done to prevent and stop distracted driving. As a parent, it is critical to discourage teens from using their phone while driving. Remind them of the dangers and set a good example. Show your teen that you make a commitment to yours, theirs, and other driver’s safety. Located below is a list of things to remind your teen before they get on the road:
- Store items like cell phones, wallets, and others belongings in a glove box or bag that won’t roll around or be tempting to pick up.
- Think ahead. If a GPS or other device will be used to help with directions, set the destination before driving begins.
- Finish grooming and applying any makeup before getting into the driver’s seat.
- Eat meals or snacks before getting behind the wheel.
- Phone calls and text messages can wait. A text or phone call is not worth a life.
- If a mobile device has to be used at any time, pull over and stop the vehicle in a safe place.