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Distracted driving remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in Colorado. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were just over 36,000 fatalities in 2019. What’s worse is that one of five people killed by distracted drivers were not even inside a vehicle, but instead were pedestrians, cyclists or bystanders.
There are three main types of distracted driving that can cause motor vehicle accidents. They include manual distractions that require the driver to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel. This can include operating a cell phone, eating a to-go meal or reaching for something in the vehicle.
Visual distractions include anything that forces the driver to take their eyes off the road. This type of distraction can include speaking with passengers in the vehicle, checking out sites along your route or looking down at a text on your cell phone.
Cognitive distraction is the third type, and most drivers are guilty of this at some point. This is when your mind is wandering from the present moment of operating your vehicle. If you have ever been lost in a daydream while driving, suddenly realizing you do not remember the last few miles of the drive, you were cognitively distracted.
Interestingly enough, using your cell phone is an example of every type of distracted driving at once. You must remove your hands from the wheel and eyes from the road to read a text or dial a number. Depending on your conversation, it can easily lead you to becoming lost in thought. Not only are you at risk of personal injury from a distracted drier, but you are also at risk of injuring others.
The University of Utah conducted a study that concluded that drivers using cell phones are as impaired as they would be driving intoxicated at a BAC of .08%. Additionally, the study found that cell phone users were over five times as likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.