Distracted driving is the number one cause of auto crashes in Colorado, according to officers with the Colorado Department of Transportation.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Colorado State Patrol says it’s stepping up enforcement.
“Whether it be radio, food, passengers, I mean any of us that have kids know how quickly they can become a distraction,” said Josh Lewis, patrolman with the Colorado State Patrol. “When we drive next to somebody and see a big blue glow in front of somebody’s face while they’re driving, it’s kind of hard to dispute that.”
From 2011 to 2014, the state patrol statistics show 19.7 percent of crashes are caused by inattention to driving, followed by speeding, and lastly, driving while impaired.
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“If you’re texting or you’re looking at a phone or GPS, trying to find a particular music file, whatever the case may be, you’re not focused on driving, you’re not focused on what’s going on around you,” said Lewis. “If you did everything that you wanted every other driver to do, we’d have far fewer crashes across the state.”
Colorado state law states anyone under the age of 18 cannot operate a cell phone or GPS at any time while driving.
Anyone over 18 can talk on the phone, but cannot legally text or use any data entry while driving.
The fines for distracted driving are $50 dollars for the first violation and $100 dollars for the second, each carrying a 1 point penalty on your license.
If you need to adjust your GPS or answer a text while driving, the Colorado State Patrol urges you to stop your vehicle wherever you are as long as you aren’t in a lane of traffic, to do so safely.