Friday, April 19, 2019

Distracted Driving & Teens

Teen Drivers Reaching for Objects More Likely to Crash

Phones are not the only distraction behind the wheel. Adolescents who reach for or handle other objects while driving are almost seven times more likely to crash than teens who don’t reach for anything at all.
“Compared to older drivers, teens’ limited driving experience and youthful characteristics may contribute to their higher risk for distraction when engaging in secondary tasks while driving,” said lead study author Pnina Gershon of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
 Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disability among drivers ages 15 to 20, researchers note in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Teens who use cell phones while driving are almost three times more likely to crash than those who don’t.
Other tasks teens engage in that increased chances for crashing include interacting with passengers, using cell phone, reaching for snacks, drinks or other objects, and looking away from the road too long. Technology may be especially distracting for less experienced teen drivers.

To see more from CDOT's Traffic Safety Pulse Newsletter, click here

Thursday, April 18, 2019

CDOT's Cannabis Conversation - Online Survey Launches Today!


Twitter: @coloradodot

April 18, 2019

Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager
CDOT Asking Public for Input on New Marijuana-Impaired Driving Ads
Online survey launches today to help find solutions to impaired driving

STATEWIDE — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has launched an online survey to gather input from the public on a series of creative concepts and messages for a new marijuana-impaired driving campaign. The survey is part of CDOT’s ongoing Cannabis Conversation — a statewide traffic safety initiative that aims to engage Coloradans in a meaningful discussion about marijuana and driving.

CDOT debuted The Cannabis Conversation in 2018, gathering feedback from more than 15,000 Coloradans to gain a deeper understanding of the public’s attitudes, assumptions, and behaviors surrounding marijuana-impaired driving. The agency used what it learned from that process to develop several creative concepts for a future ad campaign to address the issue. Now, CDOT is again collaborating with the public and its partners to refine these concepts through workshops, focus groups and an online survey, with the goal of producing an awareness campaign that better resonates with cannabis consumers in Colorado.

“We want as many people as possible to weigh in on these concepts,” said Sam Cole, safety communications manager at CDOT. “Our goal is to capture feedback that spans a wide range of views, lifestyles and demographics to get a well-rounded perspective of how these messages are connecting with different audiences.”

The public can take the survey at To view the creative concept animatics, visit The animatics show a preliminary version of what a public service announcement video may look like.

As part of its outreach, CDOT will be at the Fly Hi 420 Festival at Civic Center Park on April 20 with “The Conversation Station” — an interactive exhibit that invites festival-goers to record video testimonials about marijuana and driving and offers another opportunity for people to weigh in on CDOT’s creative concepts. Based on feedback gathered last year, Coloradans want to see more credible, independent, empirical research on drugged driving – so CDOT is also working to support the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ study on marijuana and driving performance, which will have a presence at the festival alongside CDOT.

This is a really complicated issue and we realize there isn’t a straightforward solution,” said Cole. “That’s why it’s so important for the public to engage in this process and be a part of these conversations to help guide the future of cannabis in Colorado.”

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address human factors, physical assets and organizational culture to better support real time operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission - to get everyone home safely.

Marijuana-impaired driving continues to be a problem on Colorado roads. From 2017 to 2018, the Colorado State Patrol (CPS) noted a 25 percent increase in marijuana DUI citations, and in 2018, more than 20 percent of all DUI citations by CPS involved marijuana.

For more information about The Cannabis Conversation and upcoming opportunities to participate, visit

About CDOT
CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options

Save the Date: 2019 Public Health in the Rockies

2019 Public Health in the Rockies Conference
Equity and Social Justice: Innovation at Elevation

August 27 - 30, 2019
Keystone Conference Center, Keystone, CO

Register by June 15, 2019 to avoid paying the late conference rates!

Are you ready to register for the biggest public health conference in the region?

The theme of the 2019 Public Health in the Rockies conference is Equity and Social Justice: Innovation at Elevation. This theme continues discussions of our communities’ current and future public health issues. Most importantly, we will learn from our peers’ policy development efforts, advocacy work, authentic community engagement work, and innovative programs to address challenges related to advancing health equity and social justice.

We will continue to discuss our current and future public health and advocacy work in addressing health equity, inclusiveness, and community engagement, in order to create real world solutions to improve the health of our communities.

Conference organizer is Colorado Public Health Association (CPHA) 
The purpose of the 2019 Public Health in the Rockies Conference is to provide an opportunity for education, networking and skill development of professionals in Colorado and neighboring regions. The Conference is designed to build a more competent public health workforce.
The goals of the conference are to:

  1. Provide a forum for public health professionals to develop new skills, demonstrate best practices, exchange lessons learned, share current research, and discover valuable resources.
  2. Offer a multi-disciplinary conference program that encompasses the broad aspects of public health.
  3. Stimulate innovation in public health practice.
  4. Promote awareness around Colorado’s adoption of the Public Health 3.0 and Foundational Public Health Services models.
  5. Provide a meeting and discussion opportunity for the CPHA members, other public health interest groups, special interest groups, and new & non-traditional public health partners.
  6. Encourage networking of all professions represented in public health, special interest groups, and new & non-traditional public health partners.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Opportunity: Contribute to the Cannabis Conversation with CDOT

CDOT's Cannabis Conversation Seeks Public Input on Future PSA Campaigns

Last month, CDOT and its partners officially kicked off the 2019 continuation of The Cannabis Conversation with a media event at Lightshade Dispensary. Media was invited to get an inside look at some of the creative concepts CDOT is working on for a future marijuana-impaired driving educational ad campaign and speak to representatives from our team, CSP, Marijuana Industry Group and Lightshade. Meanwhile, we also wrapped up preliminary message testing on the creative ad campaign concepts with a small group of online survey participants.
Since then, CDOT has been tweaking our creative concepts based on the preliminary feedback and is excited to launch a widespread public survey this week inviting the greater population of Colorado to weigh in and help further refine the ad concepts. We’ll also be conducting an online focus group next month to gather in-depth insights from selected participants. CDOT looks forward to sharing these ideas with the community and hearing your honest, constructive ideas for how our future education campaign can most effectively address the complicated issue of cannabis and driving.
CDOT will host the first event in a series of stakeholder workshops across the state on April 16 in Colorado Springs. In partnership with the CSU Institute of Cannabis Research and Native Roots the workshop will be an opportunity to dig deeper into discussions about ways to message marijuana-impairment education and identify potential solutions. Additional workshops are being planned for later this spring in Denver, Grand Junction and Gypsum 
On April 20, CDOT will be at the Fly Hi 420 Festival at Civic Center Park to talk with cannabis consumers, gather feedback on our creative ad concepts and provide an update on the campaign.
If your organization is interested in contributing to The Cannabis Conversation, bringing awareness to marijuana-impaired driving and helping identify potential solutions, contact Sam Cole at for information on ways to get involved.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Distracted Driving: Setting Devices to Do Not Disturb Mode

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month! Distracted driving is a serious issue in Colorado, and drivers everywhere need to do what they can to eliminate distractions and concentrate on the road. Robye Nothnagel from Colorado Drive Safe is raising awareness and sharing her story of the dangers of distracted driving, and how we can all be safer by eliminating distractions while behind the wheel.

Robye Nothnagel appears on Good Morning Vail for Distracted Driving Awareness month. She shares the story of how she was struck in a crosswalk by a driver who was texting while driving.

Setting your phone to "Do Not Disturb" mode is easy to do, and a good habit to get into before driving. Instructions for most devices can be found online. For more news on distracted driving and raising awareness for this issue, see CDOT's campaign for distraction-free driving. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Resource: New Guide for Implementing Peer-to-Peer Initiatives

April 11, 2019
CONTACT: Madison Forker, 202-580-7930

New Guide Helps States Implement Successful
Peer-to-Peer Initiatives
Identifies elements critical for creating strong, measurable programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Motor vehicles remain the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. Though fatal crashes involving drivers 16-24 years old declined more than 25% over the past decade, much work remains. To help states further this progress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released the “Peer-to-Peer Teen Traffic Safety Program Guide,” prepared by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Written for State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs), the guide examines peer-to-peer programs, in which young adults take the lead in identifying a traffic safety problem their school and community and taking action to address it. The programs offer young leaders the opportunity to not only formulate but also implement and evaluate a plan to educate their community about the identified issue.

The full guide can be downloaded at webinar will be held April 25 at 2:00 p.m. EST to elaborate on the report’s recommendations, featuring presentations by experts from peer-focused organizations. 
Register at

“We know that graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs are largely responsible for the recent decline in novice driver fatal crashes, but our work to reach zero doesn’t stop there,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA’s Executive Director. “It’s essential that states and communities take a comprehensive approach to this problem; peer-to-peer programs, in conjunction with GDL and other proven strategies, can be effective tools for empowering youth to protect themselves and others on the road.”

Working with an expert panel of researchers, advocates, youth organization leaders and young adults, the following eight success indicators for peer-to-peer programs, were identified and are discussed in detail in the Peer-to-Peer Guide:

  • Youth-led: Youth, not adults, develop, implement and assess the initiative.
  • Inclusive: Initiatives welcome youth from diverse cultures, ethnicities, abilities, genders and economic backgrounds.
  • Sustainable: Adults provide support and resources needed to sustain the initiative.
  • Facilitated training: Both youth and adults receive ongoing training addressing working together to address safety issues.
  • Clearly defined, measurable learning objectives: Youth identify and investigate a problem to determine the way best way to address it.
  • Positive: Positive learning experiences and messaging are used to motivate safe choices.
  • Incentives and recognition: Both are used to motivate youth to participate in the initiative.
  • Evaluation: Success is measured in changes to peers’ behavior, knowledge, attitudes and/or awareness of the issue.

The guide also includes a compendium of youth-led traffic safety programs that incorporate all or many of these success indicators, along with resources to help states plan, implement and evaluate peer-to-peer initiatives. National programs discussed include Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; SADD; Project Ignition; and Step Up! The report also looks at state programs including Teens in the Driver Seat (Texas); the California Friday Night Live Partnership; Seat Belts are For Everyone (Kansas); Strive 4 a Safer Driver (Michigan); ReduceTNCrashes (Tennessee); Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety; and U Got Brains Champion Schools Program (New Jersey).

About GHSA
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.

Friday, April 5, 2019

News From CDOT


Twitter: @coloradodot

April 5, 2019

Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager

781 Citations Issued During Rural Seat Belt Enforcement
New DUI Enforcement Campaign Begins Today

STATEWIDE — Last year, 215 unbuckled drivers and passengers were killed in crashes in Coloradoaccounting for more than half of the state’s 410 total passenger vehicle deaths. To address low seat belt usage in rural areas, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies recently activated a weeklong Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement in rural counties across the state.

The enforcement cited 781 unbuckled drivers and passengers between March 25-31.  Of these, 66 were drivers cited for not ensuring children under the age of 15 were buckled in their vehicle. Fines for not buckling up start at $65, and parents or caregivers who have an improperly restrained child in their vehicle can receive a minimum fine of $82. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (163 citations), Bayfield Marshal’s Office (41 citations) and Alamosa Police Department (32 citations) recorded the most citations. CPS issued 254 citations. Comprehensive results from all participating agencies can be found at
“Seatbelts save lives, and we implore the public to help reduce injury and death on the road by buckling up," said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew. “This is one of the easiest and most impactful safety choices we can make each day.” 
"We hope that those who received citations during this enforcement period are more aware of the dangers of driving unrestrained," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP. "It’s simple — if everyone in the state commits to wearing a seat belt every time they enter a vehicle, we would see less injuries and fatalities on our roads."
To keep impaired drivers off of roads during spring activities, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and statewide law enforcement agencies will increase DUI patrols during The Heat Is On Spring Events enforcement period. The five-week enforcement begins today and aims to keep impaired drivers off Colorado roads as people take advantage of warmer weather and spring activities.

Last year, 41 alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred in April and May combined,” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “In addition to significant financial costs, driving impaired puts both the driver and others on the road at serious risk.”

Colorado DUI laws are enforced for all impairing substances, not just alcohol. Last year, 1,932 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs during the five-week spring DUI enforcement. The cost of a DUI can amount to over $13,500 when considering fines, legal fees and insurance costs.

About Click It or Ticket
Click It or Ticket is a nationwide campaign from NHTSA. Since Click It or Ticket was introduced in Colorado in 2002, statewide seat belt use has increased from 72 percent to 86 percent. In May 2018, CDOT developed a series of ads featuring Coloradans promoting seat belt use. The Click It or Ticket campaign will return May 20 for the statewide May Mobilization enforcement period. During last year’s enforcement, 5,903 unrestrained drivers were cited. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit

About The Heat Is On
The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired-driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year, with 15 specific high-visibility impaired-driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired-driving enforcement. Find more details about the campaign, including impaired-driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips at

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports, and administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.