The Colorado Department of Transportation is not encouraged by some of the results of a recent survey that had drivers candidly discuss their driving habits.
- Nearly a quarter of Colorado drivers admit to having recently read messages on their phones while driving, according to the survey.
- And the number of drivers who admitted to speeding (69 percent) is increasing, with about a quarter of drivers saying they speed more often than not.
The results aren’t all disturbing, however.
- The survey found 88 percent of respondents use seat belts all of the time.
- Only 16 percent of the respondents thought they could safely drive under the influence of marijuana, and only 12 percent felt the same about alcohol.
- While the number of Coloradoan’s who admitted to “using and driving” was low, 57 percent of the respondents who said they used marijuana admitted to driving within two hours of that use.
- By comparison, 38 percent of alcohol drinkers in the survey said they had driven a vehicle within two hours of drinking during the 30-day period before the survey.
As some of the survey results were relayed to her, State Transportation Chairwoman Kathy Connell said she thinks the results show the need for more forms of alternative transportation.
“We talk about a lack of funds for infrastructure, but there’s an even bigger lack of funds for enforcement,” she said. State transportation officials also had concerns about the survey results. Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s head of transportation safety, labeled the results a “good but disturbing snapshot” of driving habits. He thinks the results will help CDOT design future safety campaigns, which have lately relied on humor to relay their messages. One TV advertisement in 2014 featured a man who was too high to realize he was trying to start a grill without propane. The ad warned that while grilling high now is legal, driving to get the propane is not.
The latest driving habits survey, which was mailed out to 3,900 households in October, was done during a year in which the state saw an uptick in fatalities on its roadways. Last year was the deadliest year on Routt County’s highways since 2009. Five people lost their lives on area roadways in 2016. A majority of the crashes were blamed in part on drivers who were impaired by drugs or alcohol. Most of the victims also were not wearing a seat belt.