CDOT’s new campaign reminds drivers to drop the distraction as they head back out on the roads 

More than 90% of Coloradans surveyed admitted to driving distracted weekly 

 As many Coloradans get back on the road heading into summer, CDOT is reminding drivers to leave distractions behind and just drive. According to the AAA Foundation, over 95 percent of drivers in the United States view reading or typing a text/email on a hand-held cellphone while driving to be very or extremely dangerous. Yet in a 2019 survey of Colorado drivers conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 91 percent of Coloradans admitted to driving distracted weekly. With handheld technology more prevalent than ever, distracted driving is one of the biggest threats to safety on Colorado’s roads, causing thousands of crashes each year. The latest data from CDOT shows: 

  • 15,673 crashes involved a Colorado distracted driver in 2018, amounting to an average of 42 crashes a day. 
  • Overall, 53 (6%) of the 890 drivers in a fatal crash in 2018 were distracted. 
  • Of the 81 drivers aged 15-20 involved in a fatal crash, 17 percent were distracted, the highest percentage of distracted drivers for any fatal crash age group. 

With increasing numbers of Coloradans beginning to leave their homes following the governor’s Stay-at-Home order, CDOT is finding unique ways to remind drivers to stay focused on the road. In its latest campaign, Distraction Reactions, CDOT shines a light on the impact and impression distracted driving leaves on others by harnessing the power of human reactions and social stigma. Coffee sleeves in local shops, videos on gas station televisions, and digital ads on mobile devices ask the question: if drivers saw how others reacted to their distracted driving, would they change their behavior? 

“When you get behind the wheel, you’re not only in control of your own safety, your actions impact the safety of everyone around you,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director at CDOT. “Just as we are all doing our part to protect each other during this pandemic, we need to protect each other on the roads as well and that means eliminating dangerous distractions.” 

CDOT’s goal with its new campaign is to highlight the stigma around distracted driving and shift people’s behavior towards safer driving. The reactions of others can be a powerful deterrent to negative behavior, and CDOT hopes to highlight those reactions to benefit the safety of everyone on the road. 

“As drivers get back on the road and head out to enjoy the summer weather, our officers continue to work to help all Coloradans get home safely,” said Col. Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol Chief. “Unfortunately, while the risks associated with distracted driving are well documented, studies show the majority of Coloradans still choose to engage in this behavior — and that’s a very disturbing problem.” 

To view the Distraction Reactions campaign PSA video and materials, visit: https://bit.ly/CDOT-distraction-reactions. 

CDOT also continues to encourage the use of phone features and apps that help drivers turn off distractions, such as enabling “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode on iPhones which blocks incoming text messages and notifications while driving. Android phones offer a similar function, and there are also other third-party apps designed to achieve the same goal regardless of the type of phone a person uses. 

For more information about distracted driving in Colorado and to learn more about the Distraction Reactions campaign, visit distracted.codot.gov. 

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