News

Over 15,000 Colorado crashes involved distracted drivers in 2019

October 1, 2020 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Despite the risks, 92% of surveyed drivers still admit to driving distracted

Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on Colorado roads. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), distracted drivers were involved in 15,143 crashes on Colorado roads in 2019, resulting in 4,361 injuries and 28 fatalities. As people hit the road for fall foliage and winter activities, CDOT reminds drivers to drop the distraction and focus on the road ahead.

“Distracted driving continues to be a prevalent issue on Colorado roads, but is easy to fix,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT Director of the Office of Transportation Safety. “Every time you are tempted to reach for your phone or take your eyes off the road, stop and think about the lives at risk and make a safer decision.” 

Despite the notable risks of a crash, Colorado drivers continue to succumb to distracted driving on a regular basis. According to CDOT’s 2020 driving behavior survey, 92% of respondents reported driving distracted in the past seven days. The most common distractions included eating or drinking, selecting entertainment on a device, talking on a hands-free cell phone and reading or sending a message on a cell phone.

“Colorado drivers continue to engage in distracting activities while driving,” said Lingk. “With fall in full swing and winter sports and holidays on the horizon, we encourage people to stay focused on the road and put distractions aside.”  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month led by the National Safety Council (NSC) was rescheduled from April to October this year. CDOT is partnering with NSC this month to raise awareness for this critical nationwide issue as Coloradans hit the road to enjoy the changing seasons. As you plan your next outing, CDOT suggests the following tips to help you stay focused on the road:

  • Turn your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode before you start moving to minimize distractions.
  • If you have a passenger, assign them to be your “designated texter” to respond to calls or messages while on the move.
  • Plan stops along your route to pull over and park your car to safely enjoy a snack, stay hydrated and check your cell phone notifications.
  • Select your entertainment settings and GPS options before you start your car so you don’t have to worry about making changes while in motion.
  • Enjoy a break from multitasking and use your drive time to enjoy Colorado’s natural beauty – you just might notice something you’ve never seen before!

For more information about distracted driving in Colorado, visit: distraction.codot.gov.

 

COVID-19

Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for all of us, particularly for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, CDOT maintenance and construction crews follow social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. As traffic returns to normal levels, motorists must drive cautiously and heed the speed limit so all of us can return home safely. 

 

WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY.

In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.

 

ABOUT CDOT

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s multimodal mobility options.  

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