Moving backward on Colorado’s texting and driving law
“Did Colorado just make it legal to text and drive?” June 21 news story.
Motor vehicle deaths in Colorado jumped 11 percent in 2016 over 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council. This trend should prompt immediate action to save lives, but instead, lawmakers have amended the state’s texting ban to allow drivers to text if they are not doing so in “a careless of imprudent manner.” This provision is ill-advised at best, and a death sentence at worst. There never is a good time to overturn a life-saving law. But now, after a year in which an estimated 600 Coloradans died in preventable crashes, is particularly irresponsible.
Research clearly shows the risks of texting while driving — even through a voice-activated, hands-free system. To legally allow drivers to do so defies lawmakers’ responsibility to pass protective laws. Distracted driving is a public health crisis. Rather than find the vaccine, Colorado has potentially accelerated an epidemic.
Itasca, Ill. The writer is president and CEO of the National Safety Council and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.