Special to the Herald Times
In a 2017 CDOT survey:
– 89 percent reported driving distracted in the last week
– 40 percent admitted to reading a text while driving
– 25 percent said they had sent a text
RBC | Are you turned on? It’s the question CDOT is asking motorists in a new safety campaign to reduce distracted driving. The campaign urges drivers to turn on the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature on their iPhones and to download other apps to prevent incoming distractions.
View the campaign messages at: bit.ly/CDOTGetTurnedOn or bit.ly/CDOTGetTurnedOnVideos
“Distracted driving is a serious issue in Colorado,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Drivers acknowledge that it’s a problem, but like any bad habit, it’s difficult to change. We’re hoping Coloradans assume personal responsibility for the issue and take action to prevent this dangerous driving behavior.”
Many phone manufacturers are including built-in functionality that limits phone use while driving. CDOT’s campaign aims to raise awareness about these features so more people turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving.
Through online video ads, gas station TVs and digital ads airing across Colorado, CDOT’s Get Turned On campaign shows where to find the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting on an iPhone and how to enable it. When activated, Do Not Disturb While Driving will mute incoming text messages, phone calls and notifications. For text messages, there is an option to send an automatic reply to your contacts that tells them you’re driving and will respond later. In an emergency, a person who tries to contact you via text can write “urgent” to push the message through.
“These tools are great because they eliminate the temptation to glance over at notifications,” said Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager. “Breaking the impulse to grab your phone behind the wheel can be tough, but you don’t have to rely solely on self-control. Turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving once and those distractions will be eliminated.”
Once the setting has been turned on, your phone will automatically activate Do Not Disturb While Driving mode when it connects to your car’s Bluetooth or when the phone detects the vehicle is in motion, or users can turn the setting on manually.
CDOT’s campaign also features victims of distracted driving sharing their stories. Robye Nothnagel is one of those victims. Her life was changed in February of 2017 when a driver who was texting struck Robye as she was using a crosswalk – breaking her pelvis in four places and shattering her tibia. “Because she was texting, she didn’t see me until I hit her windshield,” Nothnagel recalls. “It was a second and my life changed, drastically.” View Robye’s video at: youtu.be/xThP0PODX9w
In 2017, a new law increased a first distracted driving offense from a $50 fine and one point to a $300 fine and four points.
CDOT offers a variety of resources and app suggestions on its website to help Coloradans become distraction-free drivers, no matter what type of phone they use. For more information about distracted driving in Colorado, visit distraction.codot.gov.