CDOT survey reveals ‘poor decision making’ by drivers

STATEWIDE — A CDOT survey is revealing that nearly a quarter of Colorado drivers admit to reading a text message, an email or using social media while driving.

The survey comes after transportation officials in January blamed a spike in roadway fatalities last year due to distracted driving. The data was collected through 845 surveys filled out by drivers across the state.

A total 607 people died on Colorado roadways last year – a 24 percent increase from just two years ago.

CDOT officials say a large part of this growing problem is poor decision making by drivers.

Distracted driving, speeding, seat belt use and impaired driving are all contributing to the high traffic fatality rate in Colorado.

“More people are driving because gas prices are low but I think there’s just people  making poor decisions and taking their lives into their hands and putting other people’s lives at risk,” said Sam Cole, a communications manager with CDOT.

A total 22 percent of Coloradans admitted to reading text messages while driving and 15 percent said they responded to messages while behind the wheel.

“People are addicted to their phones,” said Cole. “They cannot go an half hour down the roadway without putting down their phone so we just tell people to change the habits.”

The survey found 64 percent of people reported “most times” using entertainment on an iPod, CD player or other device, something Cole says goes hand in hand with the engineering of modern cars.

“With all the various screens on your vehicle, you’ve got to literally take your eyes off the road and look at that screen and that can be dangerous,” he said.

Overall, 88 percent of Coloradans say they wear a seat belt while traveling but that number varied depending on where the destination was.

“No matter how far you’re going, even if it’s just a couple miles, always buckle your seat belt since most crashes do take place within a few miles of your house,” said Cole.

Unbuckled fatalities accounted for nearly half of all passenger deaths while alcohol related fatalities contribute to nearly one-third of the state’s traffic fatality total.

“When it comes down to it, it’s people’s behaviors,” said Cole. “So that means we need behavioral change which means we need to do some outreach to the public and continue to do it aggressively.”

The survey also found the number of people who speed is increasing – 69 percent admitted to speeding – that’s up four percent from three years ago.

To read the full survey, click here.

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