April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Colorado Department of Transportation is asking Colorado drivers to suggest highway sign message ideas that remind drivers to “Drop the Distraction!” CDOT put the plea for ideas out on Facebook and Twitter. To help make the process easier, CDOT posted a template on its Facebook page.
Tom McGhee wrote for The Denver Post that the department began accepting submissions March 31. CDOT will invite the public to vote on the ideas, and the winning ones might be displayed on highway signs in April.
There are some clever suggestions in the comments to McGhee’s article:
- Kevin Snyder suggested, ‘Look at the road, not this stupid sign!’
- A commenter posting as davebarnes offers two ideas, ‘Let Darwin win. Text while driving’ and ‘Texting while driving is a quick way to get to heaven.’ (However, some people might say hell would be a more accurate destination for those distracted drivers causing accidents that injure or kill others.)
Distracted Driving a Growing Problem
CDOT says there were 15,307 distracted driving accidents in Colorado in 2015, a 16% increase over the past four years. In 2012 there were 13,236 distracted driving crashes; in 2013 there were 14,002, and in 2014 there were 14,753.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month declares distracted driving a significant threat to traffic safety in Colorado: Early data finds that 60 people were killed in 2015 in distracted driving accidents in Colorado.
Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said:
In a recent CDOT survey, 25 percent of Colorado drivers admitted to using their cell phones for messaging, 38 percent talked on a hand-held cell phones, 63 percent used entertainment devices and 41 percent had eaten while driving in the previous week. It’s clear distracted driving poses a threat to anyone on Colorado roadways, and it’s an issue that CDOT will attack head on this summer through our Drop the Distraction campaign.
CDOT has joined forces with the Colorado State Patrol to mount a high-visibility distracted driving enforcement period that will begin Friday, April 8, and run through Sunday, April 10. State troopers will have more patrols looking for distracted drivers. Of the 57,298 distracted driving crashes in Colorado between 2012 and 2015, the most common cause was cell phone use, and the next most common form of distraction was from other passengers. More than half of the distracted driving crashes in the state took place in Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Adams counties.
Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said distracted driving is a more recent dangerous driving behavior than impaired driving or driving without using a seat belt, but it’s every bit as dangerous.
Here is a video on the dangers of distracted driving that John Tomasik, one of the commenters to The Denver Post article, said he loves: