DENVER (KDVR) — As the weather warms up and travel restrictions begin to ease, roadways are going to be a lot busier than they have been in months.
With busier roads, comes more crashes. Now CDOT is launching a new campaign called Distraction Reactions to try and prevent one of the most common causes for crashes in Colorado: distracted driving.
“It could be a driver that’s on their phone. They might be eating food,” CDOT spokesman Sam Cole said. “We’ve had a few stories of people brushing their teeth in their vehicles.”
According to a survey of Colorado drivers, CDOT says 92% admit to engaging in distracted driving at least once per week.
Every day there are, on average, 42 distracted driving-related crashes in Colorado. That adds up to more than 15,000 per year. Distracted driving crashes account for 15% of all motor vehicle accidents statewide. In 2019, 39 people died.
“It’s also preventable,” Cole said.
Cell phones are still the most commonly used distraction behind the wheel. However, there several options for making calls and sending messages through hands free technology. Colorado also has laws that prohibit texting and driving. Or, drivers can simply choose to put phones away while in the car.
“For some people it’s just a habit that’s really hard to break. It’s almost like an addiction,” Cole said.
However, Cole says, it’s an addiction that puts everyone, including pedestrians and cyclists, at risk.
“I know we’re all busy and we love to multitask but multitasking is not something that you should be doing when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle,” Cole said.
Distracted driving crashes in Colorado have increased by about 2,000 crashes per year since 2012. According to Cole, cases leveled off over the past couple of years and especially during the pandemic when fewer people were driving.