Friday, June 13, 2014

Distracted Drivers Targeted In Red Nails, ‘Heads Up’ Campaign

From:  CBS Denver

More drivers in Colorado are sporting thumbnails painted red to keep them from being distracted while behind the wheel.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking drivers to join an initiative to end distracted driving. By painting your thumbnail red, you have a visual reminder to put down your phone while in your car.

CDOT officials said distracted driving is to blame for the majority of crashes involving Colorado State Patrol vehicles.

In just five business days, three CDOT vehicles were struck by the traveling public. Since January 1, 22 state patrol vehicles have been hit.

Earlier this year CDOT promoted the Red Thumb Reminder campaign to put an end to distracted driving. This initiative was developed in Colorado.

CDOT asked all state employees, the media and the public stand united for each other’s safety by joining this initiative and painting their thumbnail red, committing to drive distraction-free.

Governor John Hickenlooper also got in on the campaign, posting a red nails picture to his Twitter account.

The City of Denver is also trying to raise awareness. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock re-introduced the campaign “Heads Up” once again for June when more people are out walking and biking during warmer summer months.

Every Wednesday in June volunteers will be sporting bright yellow shirts at four busy intersections to help get the Heads Up message to drivers.

(credit: CBS)

Hancock said while it’s important for drivers to keep their heads up and be alert, it’s also equally important for other travelers to follow traffic laws.

“It doesn’t take you to drive very far to see people texting and driving and being distracted operating their vehicles. We need folks to put their smart devices down and operate their vehicles in a responsible, alert manner,” said Hancock. “And just as they’re doing that in their automobiles, we need people on bicycles, and who are walking and are on scooters, to observe the laws.”

A spokesman with Denver Public Works said that office is putting into place some engineering solutions such as giving pedestrians more time to walk across crosswalks but said such changes can only do so much and it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the roads safe.