In our previous post, we mentioned recent National Safety Council report which showed that distracted driving increased in the first four months of 2015, despite the efforts of states to counteract the problem of distracted driving. Colorado, like other states, has restricted the use of texting and cell phones by drivers, though it isn’t clear how helpful these laws are.
Even if distracted driving laws are effective at discouraging drivers from engaging in the target behavior–and it isn’t clear how effective they really are–these laws do not necessarily help drivers to exercise discretion with respect to other potentially distracting behavior. Here in Colorado, drivers are allowed to talk on a handheld device or through an earpiece, but that doesn’t mean doing so is safe.
Cognitive distraction can occur with any use of a cell phone, whether it’s texting or talking using an earpiece. For instance, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, mental distraction caused by a variety of tasks results in drivers missing visual cues, reacting more slowly, and tunnel vision. All of these effects can provide occasion for an accident.
Driving responsibly is not merely a matter of obeying distracted driving laws, but of exercising reasonable judgment in the operation of one’s vehicle. Behaviors which lead to distraction can still have legal ramifications, even if they aren’t illegal. Those who have been harmed by a distracted driver, of course, should always work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected and that they receive the advocacy they deserve.