December 2, 2020
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The Colorado Department of Transportation is launching a safety campaign aimed at reducing distracted driving as more motorists return to the roadways as the state lifts COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

[Above photo by the Colorado DOT.]

Shoshana Lew, the agency’s executive director, noted in a statement that the goal of its new safety campaign – dubbed “Distraction Reactions” – is to highlight the stigma around distracted driving and shift people’s behavior towards safer driving by harnessing the power of human reactions and social stigma. The Colorado DOT plans to place its safety messaging on coffee sleeves in local shops, in videos on gas station televisions, and via digital ads on mobile devices.

The campaign asks a question: if drivers saw how others reacted to their distracted driving, would they change their behavior?

Shoshana Lew

“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,” Lew said. “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.”

The Colorado DOT found in a 2019 survey of state motorists that 91 percent admitted to driving distracted on a weekly basis. With handheld technology more prevalent than ever, distracted driving is one of the biggest threats to safety on Colorado’s roads, the agency added, causing thousands of crashes each year.

The Colorado DOT noted that 15,673 crashes across the state in 2018 involved a distracted driver, amounting to an average of 42 crashes a day.

Overall, 53 or 6 percent of the 890 drivers in a fatal crash in 2018 were distracted and of the 81 drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in a fatal crash, 17 percent were distracted; the highest percentage of distracted drivers for any fatal crash age group.

editor@aashto.org

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