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Colorado State Patrol wants you to keep your head up and your phone down

Even with repeated warnings to the public, inattentive driving is increasing across Colorado, often with dire consequences to the emergency personnel and law enforcement whose job it is to try to keep the rest of us safe. This time it’s a box truck driver who veered out of his lane and sideswiped a Colorado State Patrol trooper.

A Colorado State Patrol vehicle sustained moderate damage when a company box truck driver, based out of Colorado Springs, failed to properly hold his lane position and struck the cruiser on the driver’s side as it was traveling in the right lane, at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday, January 31.

The car driven by the Colorado state Trooper that was sideswiped this week by another truck traveling in the neighboring lane. Courtesy photo.

The box truck was traveling westbound on Meadows Parkway (Highway 85) in the center lane when the driver veered to the right sideswiping a vehicle traveling in the same direction one lane to the right. The vehicle was a Colorado State Trooper going to work in an unmarked cruiser.

While both vehicles were estimated to only be driving at 10 mph at the time of impact, moderate damage occurred to the cruiser when the box truck temporarily hooked onto the car and then separated.

Fortunately, both the trooper and other driver were not injured in the crash. The other driver was cited for careless driving due to being distracted.

Lane violations include switching lanes in an unsafe manner, driving too close, and subsequently crossing over lane boundary lines.

“We find a variety of reasons people fail to drive in their designated lane, but some of the most common are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving aggressively or being distracted behind the wheel,” said Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Troy Kessler. “In this case, the driver wasn’t paying attention to where he was headed. He was looking at his GPS because he was unfamiliar with the area and his truck moved into the adjacent lane. No road, weather, or other extenuating circumstance contributed to the crash.”

According to the department, Colorado State Troopers made over 12,650 proactive traffic stops for lane violations in 2022. Driving distracted has consistently been one of the top causal factors for serious injury and fatal crashes in Colorado for the last five years.

As a reminder, a driver’s primary or “default” position in normal circumstances is to drive so that your vehicle is in the center of the lane with equal amounts of space on both sides.

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to lane violations while launching a yearlong campaign called “Stay in Your Lane.” The campaign is designed to remind people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment. The campaign calls attention to three of the most common and avoidable behaviors that contribute to lane violations – driving aggressively, driving distracted, or driving while impaired.