Distracted driving is exceptionally dangerous, and texting while driving can be one of the riskiest things that a motorist can do on the road. A driver who texts looks away from the road for at least long enough to drive the entire length of a football field, and that driver is thus at significant risk of causing a motor vehicle accident to occur while he is not paying attention.
Because of the dangers of distracted driving, states throughout the U.S. have imposed new restrictions and penalties on motorists who choose to drive while they are not paying careful attention. When texting and driving is unlawful, not only do these laws discourage the unsafe behavior, but they could also make it easier for accident victims to obtain compensation.
If a driver is breaking a safety law, this creates a presumption the driver is negligent and can thus be held accountable for any car accidents his negligence causes to occur. A Colorado Springs car accident attorney can provide assistance in taking legal action against drivers who are distracted and who cause collisions to occur.
Colorado Changes the Rules on Distracted Driving
In 2017, the state of Colorado passed a new law that increased the fines for distracted driving. Under the prior law, any manual data entry – including text messaging – was strictly prohibited. The new law changed the prior ban so now a driver can only be cited for texting in a careless or imprudent manner. According to the Denver Post, some safety advocates were concerned that this change meant a less clear standard since carelessness is now required for a driver to be cited.
While the law now requires carelessness as an element of the offense, it made some changes aimed at creating more incentive for drivers to avoid texting behind the wheel. The law increased the penalties, which were previously $50 for texting and driving, up to $300. The new law also mandated that a driver who is caught texting and driving carelessly will get four points on a driver's license. Under the prior rules, drivers who were cited for texting and driving got just one point on their license. A driver who gets too many points on his license can face a suspension of his right to drive.
The larger fines and the increase in the number of driver's license points should hopefully deter more drivers from breaking the law. The law also allows for drivers to be cited for texting and driving even if they are doing so while stopped at a red light or a stop sign if their behavior is considered by law enforcement to be careless behavior.
It is important to have strict laws in place to discourage motorists from driving while distracted in order to save lives and prevent serious injuries. If an accident involving a distracted driving occurs, victims or their families should contact a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer for help taking action and holding the careless driver accountable for losses that the accident caused to occur.