Are Colorado Roads Getting Safer to Drive Down?
Are Colorado’s roads becoming safer to drive down? What does the accident data collected by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) tell drivers about things they can do to reduce their risk? Statistically, Colorado roads are becoming safer. However, it doesn’t mean fatal accidents aren’t happening at a steady rate. Population growth, increased congestion, inclement weather, and many other factors are limiting the effectiveness of government entities to curb the causes of auto accidents that are claiming hundreds of lives per year.
Colorado Fatality Trends Since 2002
In 2002, Colorado recorded 743 motor vehicle accident fatalities. This dropped dramatically to 641 in 2003, and again to 667 in 2004. At that point, annual fatalities declined gradually to 606 in 2005 and leveled off at 535 in 2006, 555 in 2007, and 548 in 2008. There was another dramatic drop in 2009 when 466 fatalities were recorded, followed by another leveling off in 2010 at 450, and 2011 at 447 motor vehicle fatalities.
However, that’s where the good news ends. Since 2011, the number of fatalities has started rising fast. In 2012, CDOT recorded 474 fatalities, followed by 481 in 2013. This rose slightly to 488 in 2014, and jumped to 547 in 2015, and again to 606 in 2016. By 2017, it reached a new peak of 648, which was the highest since 2004. Only once it reached a crescendo did the number of fatalities begin to decline again. It was at 632 in 2018, and 593 in 2019. As of today, a total of 5 individuals have died since the new year.
Most Dangerous Times of Year
Colorado can have all four seasons in an afternoon, but unlike the weather, the number of fatalities recorded in the state remains relatively stable month after month. Most months, it hovers between 30-40, or roughly one per day. The number of deaths is highest in June, July, and August. Which of these is the most dangerous depends on which year you look at, but it’s clear there is a strong correlation between the end of school, the start of summer, and the initiation of holiday trips with the number of deaths recorded by CDOT.
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