By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– Some state lawmakers are trying to keep teenage drivers from being distracted while behind the wheel.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says that distracted drivers cause an average of 40 crashes a day in Colorado.

csp distracted driving 5pkg transfer State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

(credit: CBS)

Rep. Mike Foote, a Democrat representing Lafayette, is sponsoring a bill aimed at halting texting while driving.

“The technology exists to disrupt that within the car,” said Foote, “but carriers aren’t allowing it.”

state capitol State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

(credit: CBS)

The bill would require carriers to disable a phone’s texting function while inside a vehicle.

“The bottom line is just asking them to enable this technology to be used, not that anyone has to use it,” said Foote.

mike foote State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

Rep. Mike Foote (D) Lafayette (credit: CBS)

Four years ago, a distracted driver hit Shelby Canchola. A teenage girl using her cell phone ran a red light and T-boned Canchola’s car.

“It whipped my car around pretty good, she was going about 50 and I was going about 25,” she said.

distracted driving 10pkg transfer frame 75 State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

(credit: Shelby Canchola)

The impact knocked Canchola unconscious and badly damaged her spine.

“I was in a ton of pain for the first year, I had to have a major fusion so the lower half of my back is all metal now,” she said.

distracted driving 10pkg transfer frame 1219 State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

Shelby Canchola (credit: CBS)

She’s now speaking out in support of the bill up against major carriers who believe lawmakers are overstepping.

distracted driving 10pkg transfer frame 1993 State Lawmakers Debate Disabled Texting While Driving Bill

(credit: CBS)

“We believe it’s unnecessary. The wireless industry has been at the forefront of educating consumers and providing them with technology in order to stop distracted driving. This is just another tech mandate that’s unnecessary,” said Gerard Keegan with Everything Wireless.

The bill passed its first committee on Thursday.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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