using smartphone while drivingThe Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol started a statewide distracted driving enforcement period today (Friday). It will run through Sunday, April 10. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said:

We cite drivers for reckless and distracted driving year-round, not only during our enforcement periods, and we hope this weekend reminds Coloradans of that fact.

CDOT drop the distraction logoHernandez said law enforcement officers would much rather give tickets for distracted driving than arrive at crashes caused by that risky behavior. According to preliminary data, 69 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015.

Darrell Lingk, director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said:

Texting and driving is illegal for all Colorado drivers, regardless of age. It may seem like a harmless glance at your phone, but an AAA study indicates that the cognitive distraction from using your phone can last as long as 27 seconds after finishing a distracting task — incredibly too long while driving.

Anti-Distraction Messages

As this blog reported, CDOT has invited Colorado drivers to send it their own anti-distracted driving messages for use on highway message signs around the state. CDOT is inviting the public to vote on which messages they like best — the winning messages may appear on highways signs in April.

The most popular highway sign messages ideas submitted on CDOT’s Facebook page so far (and the names of those who posted them) are:

Kathy Potts Cross:

LET’S MAKE A DEAL
TWO HANDS ON THE WHEEL

Kacey Cawlfield:

WHOA, DID YOU SEE THAT?
DRIVE DON’T TEXT!

Mike Harmon:

IT’S A CAR NOT A PHONE BOOTH
YOU AREN’T SUPERMAN

Douglas David:

WANNA STAY ALIVE
DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE

A Distraction Itself?

However a commenter named Regina Jones is not convinced that road signs, even ones that seek to prevent distracted driving, do not actually distract drivers themselves. In her comment, she writes:

Having signs as reminders is good, but this is also a distraction because you are trying to read the sign while driving.

She also reminds drivers not to look at car accidents, which are a distraction.

CDOT will launch a statewide “drop the distraction” campaign this summer. Distractions can include: using the radio, CD or other music player; dealing with kids, other passengers, and/or pets; eating or drinking; using a map or other navigation device; and grooming, like applying make-up or shaving. You can learn more by on the CDOT website.

Image by nito500/123RF.