Distracted Driving

Drop the Distraction decorative image

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in anything that takes your focus away from the road, including texting, looking after children or pets, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating or reading.

Multitasking is a myth. A person’s attention can switch back and forth between tasks quickly, but your optimal focus cannot be on two tasks at once. When you’re driving distracted, your attention is diverted from the road ahead, slowing reaction time and, with it, the ability to avoid hazards that can result in a crash.

Distracted Driving in Colorado

An average of 42 crashes happen each day in Colorado due to distracted driving — that’s 42 times where lives are put at risk due to a preventable and careless decision. In 2019, 15,143 crashes involved a Colorado distracted driver, resulting in 4,361 injuries and 39 deaths. Even with these life-threatening consequences, more than 90% of Colorado drivers self-report driving distracted.

What is CDOT doing about Distracted Driving? Our latest campaign is Distraction Reactions, an effort designed to start shifting social norms by encouraging drivers to think twice about driving distracted when they see the reactions of those around them. To view the Spanish campaign, visit Reacciones a la distracción.

Distracted Driving Nationwide

Distracted driving claims hundreds of lives each year across the United States. In 2018 alone, 2,841 lives were lost and roughly 400,000 people were injured due to the preventable decision to drive distracted. Visit NHSTA’s Distracted Driving page for information on the national effort to save lives by ending distracted driving.

  • Distracted drivers are involved in an average of 42 crashes a day in Colorado.
  • In 2019, 15,143 crashes involved a Colorado distracted driver, resulting in 4,361 injuries and 39 deaths.
  • In CDOT's 2020 annual mail survey of Colorado drivers, in the week prior to the survey
    • 92% of participants reported driving distracted in the past seven days.
    • 67% of drivers talked on a hands-free phone.
    • 54% admitted to reading a message on their phones.
    • 47% talked on a handheld phone.
    • 41% sent a message while driving.

Distracted Driving statistics by age