Observant commuters might have noticed a few different messages on the state’s electronic interstate signs mentioning the most recent amount of traffic deaths for the year. It is the latest in the Colorado Department of Transportation’s two-year-old strategy to post regular death tallies on the signs as a way of increasing driver awareness. The most recent statistic for March 2018 is 93 traffic deaths. The problem with that stat? The year’s only a few months old.
CDOT recently reported that 635 drivers died in collisions in 2017, a 29 percent increase over the last year and the highest death toll in more than a decade. The sudden increase follows a decade of declining auto accident deaths. In the Denver area alone, impaired drivers caused roughly half of all traffic fatalities. If you have lost a loved one in one of these horrific accidents, do not hesitate to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Bucking a Nationwide Trend
In Colorado, overall fatalities were up more than 11 percent. Nationwide, the increase in fatal accidents is much more modest – up only 5.6 percent over the last year. Even still, more than 27,400 people died on the nation’s roadways in 2016. Among the types of fatal accidents that have been on the rise include:
- Motorcyclists: 5.1 percent, and the largest one-year jump in nearly a decade. In Colorado, by contrast, motorcycle deaths actually fell by 20 percent.
- Pedestrians: 9 percent, a 20-year high.
- Cyclists: 1.3 percent, the smallest increase, but still a 15-year high.
- Alcohol-impaired drivers: 1.7 percent. In Colorado, that number is much higher, with the state seeing a 16 percent increase.
- Speeders: 4 percent.
- Unbelted deaths: 4.6 percent. Colorado fatalities for unrestrained drivers jumped 14 percent.
The national news is not all bad, though. There were some areas that saw improvement, such as:
- Distraction-related deaths: Down by 2.2 percent.
- Drowsy-driving deaths: Fell 3.5 percent.
More alcohol-impaired drivers are killing people in Colorado as well, with the state seeing a 5.9 percent rise in fatalities. But the most startling statistic shows that construction zone fatalities in Colorado are up more than 114 percent over last year.
Coloradoans Are Not Clicking It
Nationwide, seat belt use is on the rise, reaching just over 90 percent, which is significant considering that nearly half of fatal traffic accidents in 2016 involved unrestrained occupants. In Colorado, however, drivers – and their passengers – have stopped buckling up, with utilization falling to 84 percent. Colorado actually ranks 39th nationwide for seat belt usage. In Denver proper, it is even worse, with only 78 percent of drivers buckling up.
Adults are not the only ones at risk. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, roughly three out of every four car and booster seats in vehicles on the road right now are not installed properly.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, do not try to handle the situation on your own. Get help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call Burg Simpson Colorado today at 303-792-5595 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form right now.