DENVER — The dangers of texting and driving are well-documented. But most drivers have no problem making a phone call or two while behind the wheel.
Some Colorado lawmakers want to change that.
Using a cell phone while driving could soon be illegal in Colorado.
Some studies estimate as many as 11 people are killed by distracted drivers every day in the United States. Cell phones rank at the top of that distraction list.
The mother of 9-year-old Erica Forney lives with the pain each day. Shelley Forney says her little girl was on her bicycle near her home in Fort Collins in 2008 when a woman hit her head-on.
The woman was on a cell phone when she killed Erica.
“Erica hit the windshield flipped 360 and she landed 15 feet in back on the concrete on her head … (chokes back tears) we lost her two days later on Thanksgiving day and all of it was because of something that was 100 percent preventable,” Shelley says.
She founded the national distracted driving awareness campaign called Focus Driven.
“Our current law right now bans texting and driving but really that’s where it ends, so technically, I could be sitting in traffic doodling around with a different app trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner that night,” says Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora.
Melton is pushing to make Colorado the 14th state to enact a law banning anything but “hands-free” use of cell phones behind the wheel.
A recent Colorado State University study found nearly 16 percent of Colorado drivers are distracted. The main reasons are talking and texting on cell phones.
“That text, that phone call … that is not worth a life and I am involved because I lost my daughter,” Shelley says.
In 2008, the year her daughter died, the Colorado State Patrol determined about 5,000 of 27,000 crashes were caused by distracted drivers.