The Dangerous Driving Habits of Colorado Drivers

Portrait of a young couple texting and driving together, as seen through the windshield | Dangerous Driving Habits

A survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation reveals some disturbing information regarding the dangerous driving habits of many Colorado drivers.

The CDOT survey, mailed to Colorado residents in November 2016, discovered that more than one out of every five drivers on Colorado roads could be simultaneously reading a text, checking social media, or looking at an email while they are behind the wheel.

Respondents were asked to elaborate on their texting habits during the week prior to the survey. Twenty-two percent said they had read a text message while driving recently and 15 percent confessed to having typed a message while driving recently.

The same survey found 38 percent of adults get behind the wheel within two hours of consuming alcohol, and pickup truck drivers- especially on local roads- are less inclined to use their seatbelts.

Speeding is a problem, as well. Sixty-nine percent of drivers polled confessed to speeding, compared with 64 percent in 2014. Of those who speed, 45 percent say they speed only some of the time, while 24 percent say they exceed the speed limit most or all the time.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents who answered that they had used marijuana, also drove within two hours of consumption. According to the survey, of those who consumed marijuana and drove, they did so an average of 11.7 out of 30 days.

Further Reading: Drugged Driving and the Elderly

Officials in the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT say that while the survey portrays some less-than-flattering images of Colorado drivers, it provides valuable insight into the reality of people’s driving habits. This information, they say, can be used to create and launch traffic safety campaigns that will effectively target the dangerous behaviors.

Colorado roadways witnessed 607 fatalities in 2016, an increase of 24 percent over the last two years.

Of the more than 600 deaths in Colorado last year, 380 were occupants of passenger vehicles, SUVs, and trucks. According to CDOT reports, approximately 125 of the deaths were motorcyclists, while pedestrians and bicyclists died at a 15-year high rate of 84 and 16 respectively.

Officials are dismayed about the six-year trend of rising traffic death counts. While the exact cause is difficult to identify, officials blame impaired and distracted driving, low seatbelt use, and non-use of helmets for motorcyclists.

The 11 percent increase in fatalities over 2015 was disproportionate to the state’s population growth for the same time of 1.7 percent.

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