Enforcing traffic violations and encouraging people not to text while driving is the focus of two state-sponsored campaigns this weekend.
For the first time, the Colorado Department of Transportation promoted Red Thumb Reminder, an event created by a Boulder resident that has since caught on nationwide. The event asks drivers to paint their thumbnails with red fingernail polish to remind them to concentrate on driving instead of texting on cell phones.
Concern over the growing number of traffic deaths from texting-related crashes is what led CDOT to sponsor the event.
Opinion is mixed about the event. Many people call it silly, ineffective and unnecessary. However, Chance Shaw of Colorado Springs is one of several people who said they support the idea.
"I think it's a great reminder to people, a little second hesitation before you actually go ahead and (text)," Shaw said. "It'd definitely make me second-think before (texting while driving)."
People who have lost loved ones to texting-related crashes say the event is worthwhile even if it saves only one life.
The Colorado State Patrol added 250 people to its usual complement of 450 troopers to conduct its Zero Fatalities, Zero Tolerance campaign. The additional personnel come from other areas of the department which normally have no patrol duties.
The extra officers will help the Patrol strictly enforce traffic laws in an effort to prevent crashes. Compared to the same period last year, troopers said they've issued more citations while the number of deaths from crashes has decreased 25 percent.
A man who was cited for two violations said he doesn't mind the extra enforcement.
"Me and my buddy, we just got pulled over today for not having seat belts and not having registration on our trailer," said Thomas Moehller of Colorado Springs. "So yeah, they're all over the place."
The troopers won't earn overtime for the weekend duty but will fit the additional hours into their normal schedules, a Patrol spokesman said.
The Patrol campaign began Friday night and continues through early Monday morning.