Traffic jam westbound I-70 highway with snow covered mountains Colorado

Photo Credit: milehightraveler (iStock)

Twenty-eight. That's the number of people that were killed due to distracted driving in Colorado throughout 2019. That number is at the bottom of a funnel that also includes 15,143 crashes attributed to distracted driving and 4,361 injuries.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has released a statement as the Centennial State heads into winter urging drivers to be aware of the risks of distracted driving. In a state where other vehicles aren't the only hazard on the road, it's crucial to be that much more aware of the road while traveling. Factors like weather, wildlife, and dangerous drop-offs can also prove deadly to those not paying attention.

According to CDOT, 92 percent of surveyed Colorado drivers admitted to driving distracted within the past seven days.

"Distracted driving continues to be a prevalent issue on Colorado roads, but is easy to fix," said Darrell Lingk, CDOT Director of the Office of Transportation Safety. "Every time you are tempted to reach for your phone or take your eyes off the road, stop and think about the lives at risk and make a safer decision."

CDOT also shared a number of tips to help prevent driving distracted.

1. Put your phone on "do not disturb" mode while on the road.

2. Assign passengers in the car the duty of handling phone-related concerns such as texting, navigation, and music selection.

3. Plan stops for communication breaks and take advantage of already necessary gas breaks, food breaks, etc.

4. Set-up your entertainment and navigation for the entire drive prior to putting the car in motion.

As Coloradans hit the road during changing seasons, hopefully distracted driving is something kept at top-of-mind. Not only is distracted driving something that can have deadly consequences, it can also lead to serious injury and major property damage. It's important that drivers are aware of the risks and drive responsibly.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.

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