A new study is raising the alarm about the threat posed by distracted driving in Colorado. The research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization funded by insurance companies, compared distracted driving surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018. Of course, self-reported surveys are always vulnerable to errors and omissions, especially underreporting of known dangerous behavior. Still, many drivers admitted to being distracted while operating their vehicles, including using their mobile phones.
The trends reflected in the study also indicate general social changes in the way that people communicate. Fewer drivers used their handheld mobile phones for voice conversations in the 2018 results, but there was a 56 percent increase in the number of people who reported texting or surfing the internet while behind the wheel. These results are troubling as texting and driving is linked to more serious car accidents. In 2017 alone, 800 people lost their lives in crashes linked to distracted drivers who were texting or surfing. The risk of a fatal crash goes up by 66 percent when drivers manipulate a phone by hand. While the general number of distracted driving reports remained the same, the types of distraction grew more severe.
In addition, distracted driving is not limited to the influence of the smartphone or tablet. Drivers may have their attention shifted from the roadway by noisy children, eating or even built-in entertainment consoles.
The consequences of distracted driving can be particularly serious for others on the road injured in motor vehicle accidents. Someone hurt in a crash due to another party's negligent or distracted driving can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for damages.