DENVER (CBS4)– A majority of drivers on the roadways in Colorado have admitted to driving distracted at one time, thanks to their cellphones.

According to a study from the Colorado Department of Transportation, 89 percent of people admitted to driving distracted in the past week. Forty percent of drivers admitted to reading a message on their phones, 25 percent had sent a message while driving, 53 percent had talked on a handheld cellphone and 54 percent had talked on a hands-free phone.

In 2016, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 16 percent of all fatal and injury crashes in Colorado.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and CDOT is joining the national effort to help drivers understand just how easily it is to take your eyes off the road.

At-Fault Distracted Drivers in Colorado Crashes by Age Group (2012-2015)
Age Total Crashes Percent of Crashes
0-20 8,916 15.7%
21-30 16,647 29.3%
31-40 9,942 17.5%
41-50 7,588 13.4%
51-60 6,274 11.0%
61-70 3,829 6.7%

“Colorado has seen a 24 percent increase in traffic fatalities over the last two years, and the pervasiveness of distracted driving is certainly a contributing factor,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, in a statement. “We hear the same sentiment, that the driver only looked away from the road for a few seconds. That’s all it takes to ruin a day, or worse, ruin lives.”

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness month, CDOT will launch Drop The Distraction campaign which encourages Colorado drivers to arm themselves with the tools to kick their distracted driving habit.

“Mobile devices are consistently one of the most dangerous distractions because they divert drivers’ manual, visual and cognitive attention away from the task at hand – driving,” said Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager, in a statement. “There is good news. Many phone manufacturers and app developers are addressing the issue and implementing apps and devices to eliminate cell phone use while driving. We want drivers to equip themselves and their phones with the resources to prevent distraction.”

In 2017, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that dramatically increased a first distracted driving offense from a $50 fine and one point on a driver’s record to a $300 fine and four points.

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