CDOT and Partners Bring Distracted Driving Simulators to State Capitol

April 30, 2015 - Traffic Safety - DENVER — When someone drives distracted, they are taking other people’s lives in their hands.

Using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times, and sending or receiving a text diverts a driver’s eyes for an average of 4.6 seconds — enough time to drive the length of a football field at 55 MPH, blindfolded. In an effort to fight distracted driving, today, Thursday, April 30, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was at the State Capitol with a victim’s family, state organizations and private companies to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

The event provided an up close and personal look at high-tech vehicle simulators that can be used as education tools to target teen drivers in Colorado. The simulators teach teens that driving distraction-free is simple— use your phone later, focus on driving and drop the distraction.

“Last year, 52 distracted driving crashes resulted in 57 fatalities in Colorado,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT’s Executive Director. “CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol, and other state agencies and private organizations are working together to confront this issue and educate Coloradans about preventing distracted driving.”

In March, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol announced the bold vision of Moving Colorado Towards Zero Deaths. One of the key components of the zero deaths vision is to educate drivers about the absolute perils of a variety of safety issues, from drunk driving to distracted driving.

“Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of fatal and injury crashes in Colorado,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Our troopers are always on the lookout for distracted drivers and have zero tolerance for these types of dangerous driving actions.”

Representatives from CDOT, Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Senate and Drive to Survive, LLC, were at the Capitol event and spoke about the increased enforcement of distracted driving laws and the importance of prevention and education. Other partners for the event included AAA Colorado, AT&T, NAPA Auto Parts, Colorado Motor Carriers Association, Colorado Automobile Dealers Association and Virtual Driver Interactive.

“Last month, AAA released a study that analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders,” said Wave Dreher, Director of Communications with AAA Colorado. “Researchers found that distraction was a factor in nearly six out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes — four times as many as previous estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We will continue to work with CDOT and the state patrol to prevent distracted driving and make our roadways safer.”

For more information about CDOT’s distracted driving campaign, including additional facts and resources, visit