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Distracted drivers could cause more Colorado car accidents

The fact that more car accidents could occur in Colorado due to distracted drivers has been confirmed in a recent real-world study. This is especially true for younger drivers who often talk or text on a cellphone while driving. For other drivers, the study did not confirm a correlation between talking on a phone and driving, although the study made no distinction between hand-held and hands-free devices.

Earlier studies had suggested a correlation between talking on a cellphone and driving. Unlike the previous studies which relied on simulators and test tracks, the new study used advanced technologies like video cameras and GPS systems. Included in the study were 42 newly licensed teen drivers along with over 100 adults with an average of 20 years of driving experience.

The study showed that the risk of a young driver being involved in a crash was more than four times as great if they were texting and more than seven times as much if they were reaching for a cellphone. There was an increased risk of an accident for other distractions too, such as eating, looking at roadside objects, or reaching to get anything. For older drivers, the main distraction leading to crashes was dialing a cellphone, according to the study.

Although laws vary from state to state, at least 12 states prohibit the hand held use of a cellphone while driving, and more than 40 disallow texting. For teen drivers, 37 states ban cellphone use altogether. When an accident is caused by a distracted driver, the driver could be prosecuted for negligence or, even worse, for vehicular homicide if a life is lost. Those who have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Source: CBS News, "Distracted driving study: Cell phone dialing, texting dangerous. Talking? Less so.", January 02, 2014

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