(COLO) – The Colorado State Patrol investigated 600 serious injury or fatal crashes across the state in 2022 where the at-fault driver was cited for inattentive driving. In 37 of those crashes, the driver was operating a commercial motor vehicle, this was a 236% increase over 2021.
"A driver's number one responsibility when driving a vehicle is to pay attention to the task at hand, stated Captain John Hahn, Colorado State Patrol Motor Carrier Safety Section. “The hazards of being distracted behind the wheel can, and many times do lead to injuries and fatalities on our roads. When you enter a 40-ton vehicle into that equation, the results can be disastrous."
Distractions can come from inside or outside the truck cab. In an effort to curb distractions from electronic devices, in 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) banned commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving. Then in 2011, the FMCSA banned all hand-held devices. However, other distractions such as eating behind the wheel, using navigation or dispatching devices while driving and driver fatigue can also be areas of concern for professional drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the most common indicators of distracted driving, include:
- Inability to maintain lane position.
- Driving between lanes or sudden swerving for no apparent reason.
- Not keeping a relatively constant speed.
- Sudden braking in reaction to normal traffic stops.
- Running a red light or stop sign.
- Seeing a driver’s eyes are not on the road.
As a reminder, a driver’s primary or “default” position for normal circumstances is to drive so that your vehicle (not the driver) is in the center of the lane with equal amounts of space on both sides of the vehicle.
Troopers continue to take a low tolerance approach to lane violations while launching a yearlong campaign called “Stay in Your Lane.” This campaign is designed to remind people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment. This campaign also aims to bring attention to three of the most common and avoidable behaviors that contribute to lane violations – driving aggressively, driving distracted or driving while impaired.
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.