Phones are the leading cause of distracted driving crashes that involve serious injuries

News Release

May 2, 2022 - Statewide News - High schools, rec centers and businesses partner to remind drivers to stay focused behind the wheel

Colorado - Among all types of distracted driving, it’s the use of a phone that leads to most serious injuries in crashes, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Transportation.  Of the 302 serious injuries in distracted driving crashes in 2020, 205 injuries involved drivers who were using their phone just prior to the crash.  The remaining approximately one-third of injuries involved drivers who were distracted by a passenger just prior to the crash. 

To keep the issue of distracted driving top of mind for drivers, CDOT is launching an effort to bring together students, schools, business partners and drivers to take a stand against distracted driving by signing the Defeat Distracted Driving Pledge.

“Distracted driving is more than an awareness month or single campaign, it is an ongoing safety issue that needs to be addressed year-round on our roadways,” said Darrel Lingk, Highway Safety Office director at CDOT. “This effort will keep the conversation going until all drivers understand that picking up the phone to send a text or make a call can be deadly behind the wheel.”

To launch the initiative, CDOT has placed signs in high schools, rec centers, shopping centers and other business parking lots across the Denver Metro area to remind drivers to put down the phone, remove distractions and focus on driving.  Drivers are invited to sign the pledge, vowing to never drive distracted behind the wheel. The school or organization with the most individual pledges at the end of the month will receive a permanent distracted driving sign to place on their property.
Heads up Phones Down sign That Text Can Wait Poster

“Despite what they may think, people don’t really have the ability to multitask when they drive,” said Sam Cole, CDOT communications manager. “By not fully focusing on driving, you are at a disadvantage when it comes to avoiding unexpected hazards on our roadways, such as a vehicle stopping suddenly or a child darting out in front of you.”

CDOT will continue to raise awareness of this critical issue year-round through digital message boards on highways, social media posts, and outreach through its statewide grant programs. For example, CDOT grantees include distracted driving information in all programs targeting teen drivers. This includes instructions on how to set up the "Do Not Disturb" and silence notifications options on phones. In addition, the Denver and Aurora Police Department focus on distracted driving enforcement while on patrol. High-visibility enforcement is a reliable and cost-effective means of combating distracted driving.

2020 National Safety Council study shows that driving requires full, undivided attention and attempting to send a text message, read from a mobile device, or engage with a passenger, child or pet can have dangerous consequences. 

In 2020, more than 10,000 drivers were involved in distracted driving crashes on Colorado roads. Nearly 1,500 people were injured and 68 lives were lost as a result, which is a 74% increase in fatalities from 2019.  Even with life-threatening consequences, more than 90% of Colorado drivers self-report driving distracted.

For the safety of all roadway users, CDOT says distracted driving can no longer be socially acceptable on Colorado roads. For more information about distracted driving in Colorado and to pledge to never drive distracted, visit