Distracted Driving Accidents
As technology advances and infiltrates our daily lives we must be careful to stay focused on what is important. When we are at home this may mean putting down our tablets or cellphones to engage with our loved ones at the dinner table, but when we are on the road driving we must be extremely vigilant to do one thing and one thing only – drive safely. At Cook, Bradford & Levy we are Boulder distracted driving accident attorneys who know all too well the dangers posed by distracted driving and when people focus on other things besides safe driving. A recent article that appeared in Wired magazine reveals the horrifying extent of the distracted driving problem. We are Boulder distracted driving accident lawyers who work hard to hold accountable those who have injured our clients while driving distracted.
Boulder distracted driving accident attorneys know why it is important to prove that an at fault driver was driving while distracted. First, a plaintiff always has the burden of proving that the at fault driver actually was negligent in causing the crash. Often times negligence is disputed, and evidence of distracted driving helps our case against the at fault driver. Equally important, however, is that in Colorado if a plaintiff proves distracted driving occurred, this is evidence of willful and wanton conduct which allows a plaintiff to amend the complaint to seek punitive damages – or damages designed to punish a distracted driver – in addition to all of the normal remedies. Hence, an experienced Boulder distracted driving accident lawyer understands that proving distracted driving can dramatically increase the value of a plaintiff’s claim in Colorado. At Cook, Bradford & Levy we aggressively investigate our client’s car accidents to find evidence of distracted driving by the at fault driver.
Distracted driving is illegal in Colorado. However, it can be hard to tell whether an accident was caused by a distracted driver. An experienced Boulder distracted driving accident attorney should have many ways to get to the bottom of the issue for clients. At Cook, Bradford & Levy we start from the simple premise that in today’s day and age there is a high likelihood that most accidents are caused by a distracted driver. Hence, we presume in every case that distracted driving was involved.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) there were 39,540 distracted driving crashes in Colorado from 2010 through 2012, and in 2015 alone there were 15,574. Published studies confirm our common sense belief that driving while distracted is extremely dangerous. For example, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has found that drivers are 3 times more likely to get into an accident while using a cell phone or similar device. VTTI also has concluded that reading a text while driving diverts a driver’s eyes from the road for 4.6 seconds – which is the same as driving blindfolded down the length of a 100 yard football field at 55 mph. Distracted driving is especially prevalent among teenagers, and CDOT has estimated that ¼ of teenagers who receive a text while driving respond to the text while driving. The distracted driving problem has reached epic proportions in Colorado, with CDOT concluding that 40 car accidents each day involve distracted driving. Unfortunately, in 2015, 68 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in Colorado and as the number of cellphones increases so will the number of deadly distracted driving accidents. Nationwide, according to the US Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. Chances are if you were involved in a car accident the at fault driver was driving distracted. When this happens you should contact a Boulder distracted driving accident lawyer who knows the facts and the extent of the DD epidemic.
As we discussed above, at Cook, Bradford & Levy we are experienced in identifying whether distracted driving was involved in an accident, and we presume that it was. An experienced Boulder distracted driving attorney knows that driving distracted is not limited to merely talking on a cell phone, rather, distracted driving also includes things like focusing on kids, animals or other people in the car, eating food or drinking in the car, focusing on a GPS or map, changing the radio station or adjusting a cellphone music player, putting on makeup, or even something as seemingly benign as admiring the scenery. Distracted driving is simply anything that takes away from “eyes on the road.” The Federal Government has dedicated substantial resources to studying and solving our nation’s distracted driving epidemic. A great Boulder distracted driving accident lawyer knows these governmental resources, some of which can be found at distraction.gov and codot.gov.
It is helpful to know that texting while driving is a crime in Colorado, subjecting first-time offenders to a 1 point and $50 fine. However, there is a movement in the Colorado General Assembly to increase the penalty dramatically to $300 per offense and a 4 point ticket. To follow Colorado’s anti-distracted driving legislation click here. An at fault driver need not have been convicted or even charged, however, for there to have been distracted driving. In fact, it is rare in our experience to have an at fault driver actually get charged with driving while texting as most crashes happen after the distracted driving has occurred.
If you believe you were injured in a Boulder distracted driving accident call Cook, Bradford & Levy today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation to see if we can help you.