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15,000 crashes a year – 42 a day – caused Colorado's distracted drivers, CDOT says

A survey of the state's drivers found 92% admitted to distracted driving at least once a week.

COLORADO, USA — The state's distracted drivers are racking up big numbers that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) doesn't want to see – 42 crashes a day, or 15,000 a year. 

Now that more people are returning to work and going out to public places after pandemic restricted travel, drivers are returning to the roadways. 

“Distracted drivers do not often see the risk of their behavior until it’s too late,” said Darrell Lingk, highway safety office director at CDOT. “While the risks associated with distracted driving are well documented, studies show the majority of Coloradans still choose to engage in this behavior, which presents a danger to everyone who uses our roads.”

CDOT joins a nationwide campaign effort in April during Distracted Driving Awareness Month that asks drivers to picture how people would react to their distracted driving – and if it would change behavior. 

Credit: Colorado Dpt. of Transportation
2020 survey of Colorado drivers

Crashes involving distracted drivers are on the rise, up from 13,332 in 2012 to 15,143 in 2019 – including 4,361 people who were injured and 39 people who died, according to data in a news release from CDOT. 

Even though crashes are on the rise, a 2020 survey of Colorado drivers shows that 92% admitted to driving while distracted at least once a week – an increase from the 90% who reported driving distracted in 2019, per CDOT. 

Credit: CDOT
Total crashes from 2012-2017 by age caused by distracted drivers.

In April, CDOT will partner with victims and families who have been impacted by distracted drivers on a display that will allow people to hear and share their stories of grief. 

“When you reach for a phone or turn your attention away from the road, you aren’t just risking your own safety, you are risking the safety of everyone on the road with you,” said Sam Cole, traffic safety manager at CDOT. “We want to continue to remind motorists that they are putting more than just their own lives at risk when they drive distracted.”

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