The Age of Distracted Driving

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(COLO) – With the rise of new technology features made available by smartphones and built-in dashboard computers, there are many ways people can get distracted behind the wheel. Whether the technology is designed for safety or for our convenience, one thing is certain, the use of modern technology continues to increase for motorists.

There is a public perception that teens are the “guiltiest” when it comes to distracted driving behaviors involving technology, however, by looking at trends of crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol over the last few years troopers know that the problem isn’t just one generation – it’s everyone.

When reviewing inattentiveness to driving caused fatal and injury crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol, the at-fault drivers for these crashes actually peaked in their 20s, not their teen years. Consistently over a four-year period (2019-2022), 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 39 before beginning to gradually trend downward.

“As smartphones are adopted across all generations and onboard computers become commonplace in vehicles, we likely see more needless deaths due to distraction,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard. “Drivers may admit that there is a danger in using technology behind the wheel, but people have to be willing to change their routines. Put the phones out of reach and allow passengers to work the dashboard technology.”

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, phones and dashboard navigation. Daydreaming was the next most common distraction.

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.



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.