Put down the phone. And drive

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- I love efficiency.

In the very short commute I drive to work each day, I can get some serious work done. I catch up on the news, chat with an out of state friend, remind my teenage daughter to "make it a great day," plan dinner for the evening, as well as a number of other activities.

While my head is in dozens of different places, I'm likely traveling through a construction zone, all the while surrounded by dozens of other vehicles whose drivers are probably crushing their to-do lists, also, a few cyclists, maybe an antelope, and who knows what else.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were 57,298 crashes in Colorado between 2012 and 2015 that were attributed to distracted driving. The number per year has continued to rise.

Drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk of serious injury or even death by talking on hand-held phones, texting, eating, shaving or even applying makeup.

Distracted driving laws, and the penalties for violating them, vary state to state.

With regard to the Department of Defense, although each installation has the authority to further restrict the privileges, it is unlawful at any military installation to operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile phone without using an approved hands-free device.

Violations of this can cost you. How much, depends on the installation.

At Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, although there is no fine associated with the citation, first time offenders are subject to a 30-day suspension of their installation driving privileges. A whole month of walking or catching a ride from a coworker, despite a busy to-do list, can be extremely inconvenient.

Over the next several months, the 21st Security Forces Squadron and agencies across the state will focus traffic enforcement efforts on putting a stop to distracted driving.

Be on the lookout for upcoming articles, as well as increased patrolling. In the meantime, pay attention to the road. Put down the phone, the razor, or the mascara wand. And drive.