Colorado survey assesses driver risks

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Recently released Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) statewide driver survey results determined nearly all of the state’s drivers are distracted driving, and 17 percent do not buckle up during short distances.

The survey provided a sample of what the CDOT deemed problematic driving behaviors via data collected between February and June 2020 – seeking responses from 897 state residents and assessing attitudes related to seat belt use, speeding, distracted driving, and alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medication use.

“Over 9 in 10 Coloradans admitted they drove distracted in the last week,” Shoshana Lew, CDOT’s executive director, said. “Being present behind the wheel can be especially hard with all of the pressures people are under right now with the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s more important than ever. Unfortunately, distracted and impaired driving are contributing to a tragic pattern of increased roadway fatality rates in the past months. Just as we must protect public health by fighting the virus with measures like social distancing and wearing masks, we must protect ourselves and our neighbors by driving carefully and safely. It could save your life.”

Concerning distracted driving, the survey revealed eating food and drinking beverages topped the list at 32 percent of distraction behaviors. In comparison, 69 percent of those surveyed disagreed they could drive safely under the influence of alcohol, and fewer people strongly disagreed they could drive safely under the influence of cannabis; a majority reported wearing a seat belt all the time while driving on a highway or driving more than two miles and fewer people reported buckling up on short trips with just 83 percent saying they wore a seat belt when driving less than two miles; and the higher the speed limit, the more people tended to speed.