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National surveys rate area low in poor driving, road conditions

Colorado Springs 8th for worst drivers

Surveys Rate Area Low in Poor...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The city and state don't fare well in the results of two national surveys related to driving.

Quote Wizard, an insurance comparison service, ranks Colorado drivers as being the eighth-worst in the country, primarily because of running red lights and failing to use turn signals.

TRIP, a transportation research firm, ranks Colorado Springs roads as the seventh-worst nationally among the 25 largest urban regions, with an average annual cost of $776 to drivers.

"It surprises me a little bit," said Paula Olmstead of Monument.  "I'd say we have pretty good drivers, in general.  Because we have so many drivers from out of state, maybe that contributes to bad drivers. Road conditions, I kind of agree with."

Norm Drury of Colorado Springs said he agrees with the survey results.

"No, I'm not surprised to hear that, especially the road conditions," he said.  "I would say the other drivers in this town are ... it's a challenge.  It's a challenge to be safe here."

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the low ranking for road quality is unfair because it's based in 2014 data and doesn't count for expanded paving this year.

"We will move up or move down considerably in the bad-road category," he said.  "I'd project in the next couple of years, we'll be off the chart."

El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller said the county doesn't have a sales tax increase to fund expanded paving as the city does.

"But we're doing what we can," he said.  "We know there's room for improvement."

There's also mixed opinion about whether Colorado drivers are as bad as the survey indicates.

"Injury accidents in Colorado Springs are down this year overall, so that's a good thing," said Lt. Scott Schwall of the Colorado Springs Police Department.  "People are apparently driving a little bit better than they did in the past."

Waller mentions tougher penalties on drivers under the influence of alcohol or marijuana as an example of an added emphasis on safer driving.

Other reasons offered for bad driving in Colorado include: sudden weather changes, a large number of younger drivers who are less careful, various road construction projects, avoiding potholes and distractions such as cellphones.

But Maile Gray of Drive Smart Colorado said drivers shouldn't make excuses.

"Because we're the ones who are still behind the wheel, and the ones who are ultimately responsible for our own behavior," she said.  "You can only legislate and enforce so much."

To see the bad drivers survey, visit:

To see the bad roads survey, visit:

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