Distracted drivers are involved in an average 40 crashes each day in Colorado, and in 2016, those crashes resulted in 67 fatalities. On June 1, 2017, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that dramatically increased a first distracted driving offense from a $50 fine and one point on a driver's record to a $300 fine and four points. In order to raise awareness about the harsher penalties and the ongoing threat distracted driving poses, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is launching their Drop The Distraction campaign with a high-visibility public awareness campaign.
"Twenty-two percent of surveyed Coloradans admit to having read a message recently while driving, 64 percent selected entertainment on a mobile device and 33 percent talked on a hand-held phone. The stats are alarming," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "The dangers of using your phone while driving are very real. We hope that by recognizing the increased risk, drivers will defer using their hand-held devices while driving thus leading to improved safety on our roadways."
Colorado drivers are allowed no more than 12 violation points on their license in a single year, making the increased penalties significant and an important deterrent.
This week, CDOT is launching a media campaign that aims to reach Coloradans on the source of the problem -- their phones -- and where they are committing the offense -- their cars. Through Pandora ads, traffic radio ads, and 250,000 coffee sleeves at 70 coffee shops across the Denver metro area, CDOT hopes to curb the impulse for drivers to grab their phones while driving. Supplemented with connected TV, digital ads, search engine marketing and paid social media, people will learn of the increased consequences directly on their mobile devices.
CDOT is also seeking volunteers to participate in a series of short testimonial videos about the dangers of distracted driving. By featuring real stories from victims, CDOT will show the real-life consequences of distracted driving. In particular, CDOT is asking for individuals who:
* Have been hit by a distracted driver while driving a vehicle, walking or biking.
* Have been a passenger in a vehicle that caused a crash because of distracted driving.
* Are emergency service personnel or law enforcement who have seen firsthand the tragic effects of distracted driving.
Interested volunteers can apply to share their story at distraction.codot.gov.
CDOT is also encouraging Coloradans to download mobile apps intended to cut down on phone functionality while driving and allow drivers to stay focused on the road. To view some of these distracted driving prevention apps, visit distraction.codot.gov.