Colorado Texting While Driving and Child Seat Laws Frequently Ignored
Traffic laws are all about safety. Unfortunately, they’re not always obeyed by drivers.
In Colorado, it is illegal to text and drive. That’s the law. But a recent study shows that the ban on texting while driving in this state, as well as others, may not be working as planned. Sarah Schwabe, a reporter for KKTV provides some details:
The study was done by the Highway Loss Data Institute, which is a branch of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The national study looked at several states that have texting bans, and found that those states actually saw a slight increase in accidents.
Researchers believe drivers are trying to evade police by lowering their phones and texting, essentially paying even less attention to the road.
‘Generally if people are doing it and they see a marked police car, they’re probably gonna hide it or stop doing it for that instant,’ said Lt. Pat Rigdon with Colorado Springs Police.
Think about how many times you or someone else sends a text or talks on a cell phone while driving. It is an incredibly common, but exceedingly dangerous thing to do. And it has been illegal in Colorado for just under a year now.
Another Colorado motor vehicle law that seems to be ignored with increasing frequency is the booster seat law for children. This despite the fact that the law was tightened recently, as we discussed last month (New Colorado Booster Seat Law Goes Live). The Denver Journal Advocate reports:
The percentage of infants and young children who are properly restrained in car seats declined slightly this year in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The announcement comes as National Child Passenger Safety Week is happening Sept. 19-25.
A statewide observational study conducted by Colorado State University in June 2010 shows only 85 percent of Colorado children, newborn to age 4, are safely restrained in motor vehicles, down from 87 percent last year. For children ages 5 to 15, there was a 2 percent improvement in restraint use, but it remains low at 76 percent, well below the overall statewide seat belt usage of 83 percent.
This is disheartening news because booster seats can greatly reduce a child’s chances of personal injury, or worse, in a car accident. Hopefully becoming aware of some of the reasons for the law will help to reverse this trend.
Safety officials say the drop in car seat use and the low overall seat belt use among children highlights the need for continued education to parents and caregivers about the best ways to keep children safe while traveling in a motor vehicle.
‘Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14, but those deaths are absolutely preventable by properly using child safety seats,’ said Pamela Hutton, CDOT’s chief engineer and governor’s representative for highway safety. ‘Adults need to set an example by always buckling up themselves and taking responsibility to make sure their youngest passengers are properly protected as well.’
Image by Mr. Jason Weaver, used under its Creative Commons license