(COLO) – In 2021, the Colorado State Patrol investigated 660 injury and fatal crashes as a result of drivers not paying attention behind the wheel. While people often debate which distraction is more dangerous – cell phones, food, pets – there is no argument that distracted driving has become one of the deadliest threats on our roadways. Most motorists are aware that they should keep their eyes on the road at all times, yet often can be found fidgeting with food, electronic devices or pets.
“Many people believe that they are capable of multi-tasking even when performing an activity that can injure or kill you, like driving,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Most drivers would consider themselves safe behind the wheel and it is this false sense of safety that can cause people to make poor choices. People don’t realize multi-tasking is actually their brain switching back and forth between tasks rapidly – you cannot focus on driving and the other task simultaneously.”
According to the American Safety Council, the average text takes five seconds to read. If a driver is traveling at 55 mph, he or she then drives the equivalent length of a football field blindfolded.
When reviewing inattentive driving caused fatal and injury crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol, the at-fault drivers peaked in their 20s. Consistently over a three-year period (2019-2021), the patrol’s data showed that the age of the driver trended up and peaked during a driver’s 20s and held fairly steady until age 49 before beginning to trend downward around age 50.
“This data suggests that our biggest population of distracted drivers aren’t our newest drivers,” stated Col. Packard. “It seems as people gain confidence, they develop bad habits and overestimate their driving capabilities. It's time to make a new choice to eliminate distractions and focus behind the wheel.”
Distractions can be inside your vehicle as well as outside of it – anything that pulls your attention away from focusing on the task of driving. According to crash investigators for the Colorado State Patrol, the most common distractions for Coloradoans over the last three years were interior vehicle distractions including food, pets, electronic devices and passengers, among others. Cell phones were recorded as the next most common distraction.
Give the responsibility of driving and the safety of other people the respect it is due. Curb the distractions. If you get behind the wheel, make driving your focus.
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.