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Distracted driving puts everyone at risk

Many Colorado residents know that car accidents often happen when people try to multitask behind the wheel. Texting, eating and manually using a phone are all common causes of accidents. Reducing the number of distracted drivers on Colorado roads may significantly improve the safety of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the state.

Although texting and driving is against Colorado state law, it is still a common problem. The Colorado General Assembly states that it is illegal for people under age 18 to use an electronic device for any purpose while driving. Adult drivers may not use their phones for manual data entry (such as texting and browsing the internet). In both cases, there may be exceptions for emergency calls, such as reporting an accident. Both minor and adult drivers may face fines or lose their licenses due to distracted driving.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there are about 40 accidents each day in Colorado that distracted drivers cause. In 2018, there were over 15,000 crashes and 53 fatalities involving a distracted driver. In terms of at-fault distracted drivers in Colorado, statistics from 2012 through 2015 show that over 45 percent of at-fault distracted drivers in Colorado were under 30 years old. Additionally, a CDOT survey in 2018 showed that over 91 percent of participants admitted to distracted driving within the past week.

While these statistics may be worrisome, it is possible to reduce distracted driving. CDOT strongly encourages all drivers to utilize the Do Not Disturb setting while driving. Drivers can download safe-driving apps that automatically detect driving and limit certain phone functionality for the duration of the ride. Eliminating the temptation of cell phone use may drastically reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.

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