Our View: Stay alert while behind the wheel | CraigDailyPress.com

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Our View: Stay alert while behind the wheel

Editorial board

Noelle Leavitt Riley — newspaper representative

Andy Bockelman — newspaper representative

Terry Carwile — community representative

Dan Davidson — community representative

Distracted driving is no joke — it kills people.

Too often do we see in the news that a life is taken due to distractions that could have been avoided.

Too often do we hear people say, "I'm great at texting and driving, even if others aren't."

Too often do emergency personnel arrive on the scene of an accident to find someone seriously injured or even dead due to distracted driving.

So we ask the community to please put down your cell phone and avoid other distractions while driving.

Two weeks ago, 19-year-old Moffat County graduate Clayton Moon died in a car accident in Boulder County, and law enforcement cited distracted driving as the cause of the crash.

It's not known if texting and driving were the result of the crash — all that's known is that Moon swerved into oncoming traffic and drugs and alcohol were not factors.

Often times, drivers will accidentally move the vehicle in the direction their eyes go. You could be reaching in the back quickly for your purse, and that one-second you turn your eye toward the backseat could push your car into oncoming traffic.

What about talking on the phone while driving? Not a good idea either.

The Colorado Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as "the act of driving while engaged in anything — texting, looking after children or pets, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating or reading — that takes a driver’s focus away from the road."

Here are some compelling CDOT statistics:

• In 2015, a total of 15,574 crashes involved Colorado distracted drivers and 68 people died.

• Distracted driving fatalities are increasing in Colorado. In 2015, 68 (13 percent) of the 546 Colorado traffic fatalities were caused by distracted driving. In 2014, 59 (12 percent) of the 488 Colorado traffic fatalities were caused by distracted driving.

• Distracted driving is a problem across all age groups.

CDOT found that 37.4 percent of Colorado distracted driving crashes between 2012 and 2014 involved people between the ages of 21 and 34.

• Preliminary data indicates that in 2015, cell phones were a contributing factor in 17 fatal Colorado crashes.

• Ninety-eight percent of national survey respondents know distracted driving is dangerous; nearly 75 percent admit to having done it. — Center for Internet and Technology Addiction

• Eighty-four percent of respondents support measures prohibiting any physical interaction with cell phones. — 2015 State Farm Report

Life is too important to put it at risk for a quick text, a phone call, putting a baby's pacifier in its mouth, heck, even loading a CD into the stereo system.

Multitasking and driving can be deadly — just as deadly as drinking and driving, which we'd like to address too.

Please designate a sober driver if you're planning on tipping a few back. Law enforcement has seen increased drunk driving, and that too can kill you.

Over St. Patrick's Day weekend, 607 impaired drivers were arrested in Colorado, a 33 percent increase from the 455 arrests during last year's enforcement, according to data from CDOT and Colorado State Patrol.

It's a shame, because if you don't kill someone when you drive under the influence, you are guaranteed to pay roughly $13,000 for the offense "after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders," states a news release from CDOT.

Be smart. Buckle up. Don't drink and drive. Pay attention to the road.