Distracted driving and other risky behaviors appear to be common in The Centennial State, according to CDOT’s annual survey.  -  Photo:  unsplash.com/Thomas Shellberg

Distracted driving and other risky behaviors appear to be common in The Centennial State, according to CDOT’s annual survey.

Photo: unsplash.com/Thomas Shellberg

Some 73% of Colorado drivers said they drive over the speed limit at least some of the time on main highways and 71% said they do so on local highways, according to the 2022 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Driving Behavior Survey.

When it comes to neighborhood roads, Coloradans tend to slow down. Only 50% of drivers said they travel above the speed limit on main city and town roads and less than a third (28%) do so when traversing neighborhood roads with speed limits of 25-35 MPH.

Also noteworthy, motorists who admitted to using their cell phone while behind the wheel — and those who had driven within two hours of consuming alcohol — said they exceeded the speed limit more frequently than others.

In addition to speeding, the survey explores drivers’ attitudes and actions regarding distracted driving, impaired driving, and seat belt use.

As is the case in many states, distracted driving appears to be relatively commonplace in Colorado. Eating and drinking, selecting entertainment by hand, and talking on a phone were the most typical distracted driving behaviors cited by survey respondents.

For example, 62% of Colorado drivers said they ate food or drank beverages while behind the wheel. And Coloradans admit to fiddling with their phones in any number of ways. Some 57% said they selected entertainment on a phone, CD player, radio, or other device. Moreover, 28% reported reading messages on their phone while driving and 17% said they send messages.

As it concerns impaired driving, one out of five respondents reported driving a motor vehicle within two hours of consuming alcohol. In addition, 7% said they used cannabis and 3% said they used prescription medication that might impair their judgment within two hours of operating a motor vehicle.

On the upside, more Coloradans are waking up to the real-world risks of driving while impaired. Just 9% of those surveyed said they “somewhat or strongly agreed” that they could drive safely under the influence of alcohol — down from 15% in 2021.

While 70% of Colorado drivers thought people would get a DUI if they drove under the influence of alcohol, only 54% said the same regarding the use of cannabis behind the wheel.

Finally, the survey examined seat belt compliance. While 89% said they wear their seat belt all the time, one out of five Colorado drivers said they buckled up less frequently when driving close to home. Seat belt use dropped to 80% when taking a trip within two miles.

For those who reported not always wearing a seat belt, the majority said having a vehicle seat belt reminder would influence them to buckle up.

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