More than 75% of Colorado motorists admit to doing this while driving

By Jim Lawson on March 29, 2024
More than 75% of Colorado drivers admit to doing this while driving
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

More than 75% of Colorado drivers admit to doing this while driving

Whether it’s adjusting the radio, answering a text message, or grabbing a quick bite, these seemingly harmless acts can be deadly on the road. April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Colorado Department of Transportation is urging every Coloradan to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

According to CDOT’s Problem Identification Report, distracted driving was the third leading cause of traffic crashes in 2021, and from 2012 to 2022, 718 Coloradans lost their lives in a distracted driving crash. Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) The State of Distracted Driving in 2023 & the Future of Road Safety report estimates that the nationwide 23% increase in distracted driving since 2020 has led to an additional 420,000 crashes and 1,000 fatalities.

“The consequences of distracted driving can be fatal, and we are counting on Coloradans behind the wheel to be aware of our roads at all times,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Resist temptations like checking your phone or eating while driving. Whatever it is, it can wait until you have reached your destination.”

CDOT’s 2023 Driver Behavior Survey found that 76% of Colorado drivers reported using their phone (hands-free or handheld) while driving. This number is up from 67% in 2022. Of this group, 45% reported using a hand-held phone while driving over the last seven days. In addition to cell phone use, drivers reported doing a range of distracting activities behind the wheel, including eating and selecting entertainment. The survey also found that drivers who engaged in distracting behaviors also were more likely to speed or not wear a seat belt while driving.

Texting and driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in Colorado. Adult drivers may use their cell phones for voice calls, but are prohibited from sending a text message. Drivers younger than 18 years old are prohibited from using a cell phone for any purpose and can be fined and/or risk losing their license. Exceptions include emergency situations only. Drivers aged 20 to 39 are more likely to be involved in fatal and injury distracted driving crashes (CSP).

To address distracted driving, Colorado lawmakers have proposed Senate Bill 65 to prohibit cell phone use while driving for all ages unless the individual is using a hands-free accessory. CDOT and CSP are supportive of SB23-65 and are hopeful the legislature will bring Colorado in line with the 27 other states with hands-free laws.

To encourage people to buckle up, the Click It or Ticket statewide seat belt enforcement period begins on April 1, the same day as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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