By: Don Enninga, ABATE of Colorado Northeast Regional Coordinator
Here’s what the Colorado Department of Transportation found out from their recent survey of Colorado Drivers. There are several items on their survey but this article is focusing on issues that have a primary impact on motorcyclists.
New CDOT survey reveals risky roadway behaviors
Most Coloradans engage in distracted driving and violating posted speed limits
Results from a new statewide driver survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) found that nearly all Colorado drivers engage in distracted driving. This is just one of problematic driving behaviors CDOT learned from 897 Coloradans in a survey administered between February and June 2020.
“Over 9 in 10 Coloradans admitted they drove distracted in the last week. Being present behind the wheel can be especially hard with all of the pressures people are under right now with the challenges we face with the COVID-19. Unfortunately, distracted and impaired driving are contributing to a tragic pattern of increased roadway fatality rates in the past months.
Some key findings from the survey include:
- In the seven days prior to the survey, 92% of respondents reported driving distracted. Of things people did most often, eating food and drinking beverages tops the list (32%) of distraction behaviors. Selecting entertainment on a handheld device (21%) and talking on a hands-free cell phone (18%) were the second and third most common distractions.
- While 69% of respondents strongly disagreed that they could drive safely under the influence of alcohol, fewer people strongly disagreed that they could drive safely under the influence of cannabis (57%) or prescription medications excluding cannabis (50%).
In 2018, there were 632 traffic fatalities in Colorado. Nearly 25% of all fatalities involved an alcohol impaired driver.
Distracted driving was the contributing factor in 54 (8.5%) of the 2018 fatalities.
What can we do?
Distracted driving crashes have a devastating and quite often deadly result for motorcyclists when vehicle operators are not paying attention to the very serious task of controlling their vehicle. This is a battle that the motorcycling community has been engaging in for several years by promoting awareness campaigns and working with legislators to come up with an acceptable distracted driving bill that will help protect vulnerable road users. Unfortunately, each year a bill has been introduced, it has met with defeat. The 2020 Colorado State legislative session was rudely interrupted by the China virus or the distracted driving bill that was put forward would have had a fairly good chance to make it through to become law. This was one of the bills that got put aside once the legislature did get back to work.
There is discussion about bringing a similar bill up in the next Colorado legislative session. I would hope that all motorcyclists would get engaged with their legislators should a distracted driving bill become a reality again. I find it interesting, at the very least, that motorcyclists in Colorado seem to have a lot of trouble coming together on issues that affect us all. There have been instances where several groups have been able to work on issues such as the distracted driving bills but there are many more groups that need to be engaged in these important discussions. As we work to improve the lives of all who ride, take the time and energy to become involved, make your voice heard and let those who legislate know we are here and not going anywhere! Until next time, have a great fall, ride safe and enjoy your life in this great state!
The full 2020 survey results are available on CDOT’s website at: