Monday, June 8, 2020

CDOT: New campaign reminds drivers to drop the distraction as they head back out on the roads


Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager
303.757-9484 (desk) | 303-859-1304 (cell)

June 8, 2020

CDOT's new campaign reminds drivers to drop the distraction as they head back out on the roads

More than 90% of Coloradans surveyed admitted to driving distracted weekly

STATEWIDE— As many Coloradans get back on the road heading into summer, CDOT is reminding drivers to leave distractions behind and just drive. According to the AAA Foundation, over 95% of drivers in the United States view reading or typing a text/email on a hand-held cellphone while driving to be very or extremely dangerous. Yet in a 2019 survey of Colorado drivers conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 91% of Coloradans admitted to driving distracted weekly. With handheld technology more prevalent than ever, distracted driving is one of the biggest threats to safety on Colorado’s roads, causing thousands of crashes each year. The latest data from CDOT shows:

-      15,673 crashes involved a Colorado distracted driver in 2018, amounting to an average of 42 crashes a day.
-      Overall, 53 (6%) of the 890 drivers in a fatal crash in 2018 were distracted.
o   Of the 81 drivers aged 15-20 involved in a fatal crash, 17% were distracted, the highest percentage of distracted drivers for any fatal crash age group.

With increasing numbers of Coloradans beginning to leave their homes following the governor’s Stay-at-Home order, CDOT is finding unique ways to remind drivers to stay focused on the road. In its latest campaign, Distraction Reactions, CDOT shines a light on the impact and impression distracted driving leaves on others by harnessing the power of human reactions and social stigma. Coffee sleeves in local shops, videos on gas station televisions, and digital ads on mobile devices ask the question: if drivers saw how others reacted to their distracted driving, would they change their behavior?

“When you get behind the wheel, you’re not only in control of your own safety, your actions impact the safety of everyone around you,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director at CDOT. “Just as we are all doing our part to protect each other during this pandemic, we need to protect each other on the roads as well and that means eliminating dangerous distractions.”

CDOT’s goal with its new campaign is to highlight the stigma around distracted driving and shift people’s behavior towards safer driving. The reactions of others can be a powerful deterrent to negative behavior, and CDOT hopes to highlight those reactions to benefit the safety of everyone on the road.

“As drivers get back on the road and head out to enjoy the summer weather, our officers continue to work to help all Coloradans get home safely,” said Col. Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol Chief. “Unfortunately, while the risks associated with distracted driving are well documented, studies show the majority of Coloradans still choose to engage in this behavior — and that’s a very disturbing problem.”

To view the Distraction Reactions campaign PSA video and materials, visit:

CDOT also continues to encourage the use of phone features and apps that help drivers turn off distractions, such as enabling “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode on iPhones which blocks incoming text messages and notifications while driving. Android phones offer a similar function, and there are also other third-party apps designed to achieve the same goal regardless of the type of phone a person uses.

For more information about distracted driving in Colorado and to learn more about the Distraction Reactions campaign, visit

Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, road maintenance and construction continues on CDOT projects with social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, staying at home when possible, and avoiding nonessential travel. With fewer vehicles on the roads, CDOT crews will be able to work more efficiently and safely.

In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.
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. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.