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CDOT calls drivers to “Drop the Distraction” in April

April 1, 2015 - Statewide Safety - Effort part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

STATEWIDE — Don’t be an April fool - it’s time to “Drop the Distraction.” In April, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is partnering with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) to support nationwide efforts to end distracted driving, as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This effort comes following CSP’s weekend of heightened distracted driving enforcement that occurred, March 20-22. 

The public is encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, using #DroptheDistraction to discuss creative ways to combat distracted driving in everyday life.

The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends drivers taking action to combat distracted driving:

  • Stop using cell phones while driving
  • Recognize that hands-free devices offer little safety benefit
  • Understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain
  • Tell others about the dangers of distracted driving

While there are many equally dangerous distractions, cell phone use – and specifically text messaging – is regarded by many as the most alarming. Sending or receiving a text message 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.

“A text really is a 5-second blindfold,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Culturally, we have grown phone-dependent to the point that sending a text or checking email feels almost as second-nature as breathing or blinking. That’s why we ask all Colorado drivers to come together and protect each other by driving distraction-free.”

In 2013, 61 people died, while another 1,490 sustained serious injuries, in distraction-related crashes in Colorado. These are concerning statistics to Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.

"Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes on Colorado's roadways," said Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol." Driving is serious business, and should be the main focus of every driver when they are behind the wheel."

In addition to supporting NSC’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, CDOT is targeting Colorado teen drivers this summer in a new campaign encouraging them to “Drop the Distraction.”

“A recent report from the AAA Foundation found that distracted driving contributes to 58 percent of teen driver vehicle crashes and shows that distracted driving is about more than just texting,” Lingk continued. “We want to reduce that that percentage this summer as we continue our efforts to make Colorado roads safer for everyone.”

CDOT is planning to distribute a series of brochures and posters throughout the year for public consumption. For more information about the campaign, including additional facts and the recent AAA Foundation report, visit www.codot.gov/programs/distracteddriving.

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