Have you been wondering what the distracted driving laws in Colorado are? If so, you are in the right place. At Matlin Injury Law, we believe in driver safety and awareness. We have created this guide on smartphone safety and distracted driving awareness to help readers drive safer.

Distracted driving is a serious issue that impacts drivers from all walks of life. Every year, distracted driving claims over 3,000 lives in America. According to the NHTSA, cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle is a leading cause of automobile accidents in the United States. In Colorado, specific laws govern the use of your cell phone and smart devices while driving. Knowing the law and being aware of leading accident causes can help keep you safe.

About Distracted Driving and Phone Safety in Colorado

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car wrecks in Colorado. A majority of distracted driving accidents are caused by cell phone usage. As smartphones become more integral to our daily lives, it can be hard to put them down when we get behind the wheel.

However, distracted driving refers to any activity that can divert your attention from the road as you operate a motor vehicle. This could include but is not limited to eating, drinking, texting, checking a map application, fiddling with the radio, changing climate control settings, or anything else that takes your attention away from driving safely.

Why is it bad to text and drive?

Choosing to text as you drive is a dangerous decision. We send so many text messages every day that we rarely take time to consider how distracting texting can be. However, the seriousness of texting and driving should not be ignored. While texting and driving might not seem like a big deal, it can be fatal.

For instance, have you ever been typing a long text message and realized that it took longer than expected to get your wording just right? Or, have you ever been reading an article and lost track of time? This is because the human brain sometimes distorts time perceptions. When your brain interprets written information, your mental processing speeds change. So, what seems like just a second may actually be more like 15 seconds. This distorted perception of time can make texting and driving a dangerous combo.

For reference, sending a text usually takes about 5 to 10 seconds. If you are traveling 60 miles an hour, you will have gone more than the length of an entire football field. Now, imagine driving that same distance with your eyes closed. That is the equivalent of what happens when you text and drive! The fact is, you cannot drive safely if you are texting. This is true for a range of activities that take your eyes away from the road.

Is it legal to talk on a cellphone while driving in Colorado?

Yes, you can legally talk on the phone while you drive if you are older than 18. In Colorado, adult drivers are permitted to use a hand-held cell phone for calls as they drive. However, drivers are not legally permitted to use manual data entry while driving. This includes dialing a phone number or looking down to swipe through contacts. Instead, you have to dial the number before you begin driving.

With the implementation of hands-free devices, you can usually ask Siri or another mobile assistant to call a contact for you. It is also legal to use a headset in one ear for phone calls in Colorado. Keep in mind that it is illegal to have headphones in both ears and listen to music as you drive.

Is it legal to text and drive in Colorado?

No, texting and driving is an illegal activity for all drivers in Colorado. This falls under mobile data entry. Mobile data entry includes texting, dialing a phone number, scrolling through your phone, or doing anything else that diverts your attention away from the road and onto your phone screen as you drive.

Adults can receive up to $300 in fines for their first offense. They may also have four points removed from their driver’s license. Minors are also prohibited from manual data entry activities, including sending text messages, browsing the internet, or using their phones to input anything on a screen.

Are there any exceptions to mobile data entry laws in Colorado?

Yes, there is one exception to the mobile data entry driver law. In emergency situations, some of these policies may be suspended. However, the officer who pulls you over will decide whether a situation is in the emergency category. Essentially, if you are carelessly operating your vehicle, it will be up to the police officer to interpret whether you have broken the law and will get a ticket.

You can legally use your phone while driving if you:

  • Have a reason to fear for your life or safety
  • Believe a criminal act may be perpetrated against you
  • Need to report a fire
  • Need to report a traffic accident
  • Need to report a road hazard
  • Are experiencing a medical emergency
  • Are reporting a person who is driving recklessly

You can find a list of the exceptions to Colorado’s distracted driving and phone use laws.

Tips for Better Awareness and Distracted Driving Safety

When you drive safely, you are keeping yourself and everyone else on the road protected. As a driver, it is your responsibility to maneuver your vehicle with care. In fact, you have a legal duty of care to the other drivers around you. The world is full of distractions for drivers. Smartphones, billboards, pets in the car, and passengers can be big distractions on the road. However, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to become a better driver. The benefits of driving safely far outweigh the effort it takes to keep your attention on the road. Here are some tips to help you drive more safely in Colorado!

Take Your Time Before Leaving Home

Before you pull out of your driveway, get your ducks in a row. While this seems simple enough, you may find that preparing yourself before you drive significantly improves your ability to stay safe on the road. For instance, if you like to listen to music in the car, have a playlist ready that you can simply start one-handed before you step on the gas. Or, if you know you need to make a call while you’re driving, be sure to have a hands-free call method prepared. If you aren’t sure where you’re going, type in the address of your destination and have your Maps App routed and ready to go. Not only will this make driving easier, but it might also help you stay organized. Taking a minute to set yourself up for success may also save you time on the road and ensure that you arrive where you’re headed punctually.

Snack Smart

Americans are busy people. It is pretty common to see people eating their lunch as they drive. While this seems harmless enough, it leads to more accidents than you might believe. In fact, some studies suggest that around 500 traffic accidents or near-miss take place every day in the United States from people eating while behind the wheel. Instead of taking this risk, take lunch instead. If you absolutely do not have time to take a long lunch break, consider getting a smoothie or some kind of food that can be eaten one-handed without making a mess. If you have a hamburger, salad, or sandwich, pull over and eat in the parking lot.

Take a Break from Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can wait. There’s no reason to use social media while you drive. No matter how pressing a social situation might seem, it can wait until you are parked. If you see something while driving that absolutely must be recorded on your phone, pull over to take a video.

Consider Silencing Your Phone

If you’re driving through heavy traffic or anticipate a complicated situation on the road, put your phone on silent. Anyone who needs to call you will usually understand that you can’t answer calls while you drive. Not only is this smart, but it’s responsible.

Can you sue someone if you have been in a distracted driving car accident?

In Colorado, C.R.S Title 42 explains the law about phone usage on the road. Every personal injury case will be handled based on the law and who was at fault for the accident. The at-fault driver will be the driver responsible for causing an automobile collision. Accident fault is assigned by weighing the evidence of each accident. Someone is talking on their cell phone or texting and causes a car accident that injures you, you may have a lawsuit on your hands.

However, if you are found to have any fault in the accident, your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit may be impacted. As such, you should never use your phone while on the road for the simple reason that if someone else hits you, some fault may be assigned to you as well.

Additionally, it is very important to be careful what you say immediately following an accident. Do not accept blame unnecessarily or give officers a reason to believe you shared fault in an accident if the accident was, in fact, not your fault. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is the best way to ensure the desired outcome for your case.

When a distracted driving car accident occurs, the insurance companies must determine who is at fault. From there, how much damage each party is liable for financially will be decided. Usually, it is in the best interests of both sides to settle. However, in some situations, one party may decide to take the dispute to court. If this is the case, you should hire an attorney. Your attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve after an accident caused by negligence.

Were You Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Call Matlin Injury Law Now!

If you have been injured by the careless behavior of a distracted driver, call our experienced personal injury firm now. At Matlin Injury Law, we have perfected the art of successful personal injury representation. Through communication, innovation, and dedication, we produce faster settlement outcomes for our clients in larger amounts. We will give you the personal attention you need and deserve after a car accident. For skilled legal assistance after your car accident in Colorado, call our premier injury law firm today!

Injured by a Distracted Driver? Call Matlin Injury Law of Parker, Colorado, Now at 720-464-3600!