Majority of Coloradans drive distracted, according to new CDOT survey

I-25 stretches south from Denver. Feb. 19, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Cars drive on I-25, south of Denver. Feb. 19, 2022.

A new Colorado Department of Transportation survey found that a vast majority of drivers in the state are distracted when behind the wheel. 

The survey was sent to 5,000 randomly selected Colorado addresses in 2021 and completed by 616 people. Respondents were asked over 30 questions, most of them pertaining to recent driving habits. 

Among respondents, 91 percent of people said they drove while distracted at least once during the week they completed the survey. More than half of them said they drive distracted “often” or “always.”

Related: In 2020, Denverite reporters spent an hour at busy intersections to count distracted drivers. It wasn't hard, since so many people do it out in the open all day long.

The most common activities categorized as “distracted driving” were eating food or drinking beverages. Large shares of people also mentioned taking phone calls and selecting music or podcasts on a mobile device. CDOT defines distracted driving as “the act of driving while engaged in anything that takes your focus away from the road.”

Texting and driving continues to be an issue, but respondents said they’re more likely to pick up their cellphones while fully stopped.
Last year was the deadliest period for Colorado drivers since 2002, with 672 deaths reported on state roads. State safety officials blamed the rise in deaths on “personal choices,” and claimed police patrols are unlikely to make roads safer. Instead, they called on drivers to show a higher level of “personal responsibility.”