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Statistics on Auto Accidents in Colorado

The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization that works closely with federal auto-safety regulators, recently released traffic fatality estimates showing that 40,200 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016, a 6 percent rise from the year before. According to recently released statistics in the State of Colorado, fatal traffic crashes also increased in 2016 at the state level.

The national figures represent the first time since 2007 that more than 40,000 people have died in motor vehicle accidents in a single year. To make matters worse, the 2016 total comes after a 7 percent rise in 2015. The two-year increase — 14 percent — is the largest in more than a half a century. The safety council’s figures correspond to the fatality totals that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration compiles.

The dramatic increases occurred despite the fact that new cars are made safer by electronic stability control systems, rearview cameras, and more airbags.

Many believe that the increase in traffic homicide cases resulted from:

  • distracted driving including an increase in cell phone usage while driving;
  • low seat belt use;
  • motorcyclists not wearing helmets and other protective gear;
  • increase on job growth and low fuel prices leading to more travel on the roadways;
  • increases in aggressive driving; and
  • increases in street racing.

Many government officials and safety advocates believe that the increase in deaths were caused by more lenient enforcement of drunk driving laws, decreases in enforcing speeding regulations and the failure to wear a seatbelt.

Nearly half of all those killed in crashes last year were not restrained by a seatbelt. Those fatalities counted as “unrestrained” do not include fatalities where seatbelt were not present including for motorcyclists, scooter riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Failing to wear a seatbelt is a particularly frustrating factor because almost half of all traffic fatalities involve unbelted occupants.

Nearly a third involve drivers who were impaired by drugs or alcohol. At the same time, many states are slashing the funding for law enforcement officers on the roadways to discourage speeding and drunk driving. In 2016, 196 people were killed in crashes in Colorado in which drugs or alcohol were reported as a factor.

The National Safety Council has endorsed bans on all use of smartphones by drivers, even if they use messaging or hands-free calling. Auto safety regulators want apps on cell phones to be blocked while the driver is behind the wheel.


Fatal Traffic Crashes Increase in Colorado in 2016

In 2016, at least 605 people died on Colorado’s roadways according to statistics gathered by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The last time the fatality count was so high was in 2005, when 606 people were killed.

The death count in 2016 was an 11 percent increase from 2015. The total number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2016 represents the highest total in more then 10 years. For all of the deaths on Colorado’s roads in 2016, more than half were drivers or passengers in cars, sport utility vehicles, and trucks. Motorcyclists accounted for 125 of the deaths. Pedestrians accounted for 84 of the deaths. Bicyclists accounted for 16 of the deaths.

Roadway deaths for pedestrians in Colorado jumped about 31 percent to 84 in 2016, compared with 64 in 2015.


Which Counties in Colorado Has the Highest Number of Traffic Fatalities?

The counties with the highest number of deadly automobile accidents in 2016 accounting to CDOT data shows the following:

  • 60 people died in Adams County;
  • 57 people dies in Weld County;
  • 54 people died in Denver County;
  • 48 people died in El Paso County; and
  • 48 people dies in Jefferson County.

In eight of Colorado’s 64 counties, no roadway fatalities were reported in 2016 including:

  • Baca County;
  • Bent County;
  • Cheyenne County;
  • Conejos County;
  • Crowley County;
  • Hinsdale Couny;
  • Phillips County; and
  • Sedgwick County.

Additional Resources

Colorado’s Traffic Safety Statistics in 2016 - Visit the website for the Colorado State Patrol with the Department of Public Safety to find recent traffic safety statistics. Find a report on the 2017-2021 Colorado State Patrol Strategic Plan for Traffic Safety Goals published on August 31, 2017. The statistics were reported from CSPFARS database on 9/5/2017.

Fatal Crash Data in Colorado - Visit the official state web portal for the state of Colorado to find fatal crash data (historical) and fatal accident reporting documents. The documents include fatal accident statistics by city and county, fatalities by person type, fatalities by region broken out by CDOT region and month, and statistics on holiday fatalities.


Attorney for Car Accidents in Denver, CO

Jennifer Donaldson is a personal injury attorney for serious auto accidents in Denver, CO, and the surrounding areas. After a serious car accident, contact an experienced attorney to discuss the best way to recover damages for your injuries. Call (303)-458-5000 today for an appointment to discuss your case during an office consultation.


This article was last updated on Friday, September 15, 2017.

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