In this five-part series, we have identified the leading contributing factors and causes of auto accidents including human contributions, weather, and road conditions. In this final segment of the series, we will focus on what is being done in Colorado to prevent accidents. The 2017 Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) published by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) outlines programs, initiatives, goals, and funding. It is truly an integrated plan that involves the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Colorado State Patrol, and other local entities.
Preventing Impaired Driving in Colorado
Colorado agencies statewide are participating in the following High-Visibility Enforcement (HVE) campaigns:
- Memorial Day Weekend four-day event
- Checkpoint Colorado impaired driving checkpoints
- New Year's Eve four-day event
Funding has been allocated for “drugged driving” detection through Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) hiring and training. Recertification is being conducted for officers in Standard Field Sobriety Testing. The DUI Courts program continues to progress. New Portable Breath Testing equipment and calibration equipment is being implemented.
Aggressive Driving/Speeding in Colorado
Local law enforcement is partnering for a Speed Enforcement Program that outlines standards for performance, new goals, and a nighttime speed enforcement program. Speed enforcement is being heightened in areas of concern including I-25, I-225, and I-70. A mini-grant program has been established with some discretionary funds.
Seat Belt Programs in Colorado
The Click It or Ticket Mobilization program will occur in May. A Child Passenger Safety Week project will provide education and enforcement, with funds allocated for officer overtime. Rural areas of the state will be targeted for a period of two weeks, specifically for seat belt usage, which is lower in these regions. CDOT, in a partnership with ThinkFast Interactive and Impact Teen Drivers, is doing kickoff events at many schools focused on seat belt safety. CDOT also has approved funding for the Child Passenger Safety Team Colorado program that will assist with the availability of child car seats and establish inspection sites. Colorado CPS Technicians are focused on education about booster seats with age-specific campaigns.
Educating Young Drivers in Colorado
Those 15-20 are a higher risk segment among drivers statewide. Education will continue through teen driver and Graduated Driver's License programming. The High School Seat Belt and Distracted Driving Challenge will be conducted in multiple counties. The P.A.R.T.Y. Program is an educational program geared toward younger drivers to discuss risks and behaviors. The Teen Seat Belt Challenge expands to a minimum of eight high schools and includes signage and design contests.
Programs for Aging Drivers in Colorado
Drivers over the age of 65 often have diminished capacities for safe driving. CDOT has further funding for the Driver Smart Colorado Aging Road User program in El Paso County. AARP has a Colorado Coordinator that will be conducting a Safe Driver class. The Reaching Older Adult Drivers (ROAD) program is tailored for drivers over age 65 to inform individuals and their families of programs to enable older drivers to travel safely and maintain their mobility.
Enforcing Distracted Driving Law in Colorado
The Colorado State Patrol is focusing their enforcement of distracted driving in Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso, and Weld counties. Funding is approved for the Data Driven Approaches to Crime & Traffic Safety Distracted Driving program to stop distracted driving in Weld County. The DPD Traffic Bureau is conducting an enforcement and education project on texting and using electronic devices while driving. The state will continue highly visible promotion of the distracted driving problem, specifically centered on mobile devices.
Colorado Motorcycle Safety Programs
Funding has been secured for the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) program which includes matching grant funds to educate riders. In addition, a $2 motorcycle endorsement surcharge and $4 motorcycle registration fee will assist in programming objectives. A free guided safety tour of the most dangerous roadways in the mountain areas is available that focuses on best practices for navigating these thoroughfares.
Pedestrian/Bicycle Accident Prevention in Colorado
DPD is targeting specific intersections which are historically problematic sites for vehicle/pedestrian accidents. Decoy Pedestrian is a program to address the problem. The City of Boulder is reaching out through bicycle ambassadors and members of law enforcement to heighten awareness about bicycling after dark. West Metro firefighters in Jefferson County are visiting schools to discuss pedestrian and bicycle roadway safety and the importance of wearing a helmet.
Colorado is taking a multi-faceted approach to reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities across the state. Programs are in place for all age groups of car drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Individuals must be conscious of how their actions can impact road safety and educated to travel safely in all weather and roadway conditions. In the next series, we will look into how devices and other automotive technology are being developed to improve safety.