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Today Begins National Push to Tackle Distracted Driving

CDOT-New-LogoSTATEWIDE—When you drive on any road or highway, there’s one thing you’re almost certain to see: distracted drivers. To encourage all drivers to be aware of their digital addiction and drop the distraction, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado State Patrol are joining in a national effort to recognize April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, bringing attention to the threat distracted drivers pose.

According to a recent survey of Colorado drivers, cellphone use behind the wheel is an ongoing threat in our state, with 22 percent admitting to reading a message while driving. Beyond messaging, 64 percent had selected entertainment on a mobile device and 33 percent had talked on a hand-held phone.

“The recent CDOT survey results highlight that while the distracted driving behaviors vary by gender or age, the distracted driving issue is not region specific and is truly a problem statewide,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Coloradans are not paying attention to how dangerous distracted driving really is. CDOT plans to address this disconnect and our collective addiction to our phones this summer through our Drop the Distraction campaign.”
In 2016, CDOT introduced the Killer Habit distracted driving PSA as part of the Drop the Distraction campaign. The video, featured here, equates distracted driving and our dependency on our phones as a digital addiction, often with deadly consequences.

Throughout April’s awareness month, CDOT will share the Killer Habit video—along with other videos from across the country and around the world—on its Facebook page. CDOT is asking Facebook users to submit their own distracted driving-prevention videos to be shared publicly on our Facebook page.

CDOT also wants to hear directly from Coloradans about their experiences with distracted driving. Whether they’re guilty of the practice themselves and have a prevention tip to share, or if they’ve been the victim of a distracted driver, CDOT invites Facebook users to send stories to CDOT as a Facebook post or private message.

“We want to stress just how dangerous distracted driving is. Troopers are responding to more and more crashes caused by distracted drivers,” said Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It’s our responsibility to cite reckless and distracted drivers year-round in order to keep Colorado roads safe.”

In 2015, there were 68 fatalities in distracted driving crashes. Of the estimated 57,298 distracted driving crashes in Colorado between 2012 and 2015, drivers 21 to 30 years old were involved in 30 percent of the crashes. Furthermore, drivers 31 to 40 years old were the second largest group of distracted drivers, accounting for 18 percent of distracted driving crashes. The most common distraction in these crashes were cellphones, followed closely by other passengers in the vehicle.

CDOT’s Drop the Distraction campaign educates motorists about the dangers of distracted driving. This summer, CDOT will launch a statewide, high-visibility awareness campaign aimed at decreasing distracted driving. For more information about distracted driving in Colorado, visit distraction.codot.gov.

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