From statistics to the worst roads for wildlife crashes, what you need to know about Colorado car accidents
More than 4 million licensed drivers call Colorado home, and the Denver metro area ranked among the top five fast-growing cities in the country last year. More drivers on the roadways often translates into more issues. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about Colorado car accidents and how to stay safer on our state’s roadways.
More people and poor road conditions
According to a 2018 story in the Denver Business Journal, up to 40 percent of Colorado’s roadways fall into the “poor condition” category. The publication reported that:
“…vehicle miles traveled in Colorado grew 11 percent between 2013 and 2016 — the sixth-greatest rate of growth in the country. That demonstrated both the state’s economic vitality that is attracting a growing population and the urgency that is needed to fix roads before their upkeep falls too far behind the needs of its citizenry.”
More vehicles on the roads means more wear and tear, and it can also lead to unsafe driving conditions and accidents. The Colorado transportation study cited by the DBJ estimated the annual cost to Colorado drivers at $7.1 billion per year due to lost productivity and time, car accident expenses and car repairs linked to poorly maintained roads.
Bad drivers and traffic deaths
Colorado has among the worst drivers in the country, according to a statistical analysis released in 2018. Our drivers ranked 15th worst, and even drivers in California and New York ranked better. Yikes.
According to Our Community Now:
“Colorado averages 30 fatalities per every 100 million vehicle miles traveled, and actually ranks worse than California — which ties Colorado as the 15th worse drivers in the country — in terms of careless driving and drunk driving.”
Early last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported that traffic deaths in the state increased by 29 percent between 2014 and 2017. In 2017, there were 630 fatalities statewide. The most traffic deaths occurred in El Paso, Adams, Weld and Denver counties, and many deaths were due to alcohol impairment and low seat-belt usage throughout Colorado.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control measure the impact of both fatal and non-fatal motor vehicle crashes. It reports that, for every one person killed in a car crash, eight people were hospitalized and an additional 99 people visited emergency rooms following a traffic accident:
Extrapolating on that data, that would mean that more than 62,000 Coloradans would have visited the hospital for treatment after a car accident last year. Five thousand of those would likely have ongoing medical issues that require longer-term treatment or rehabilitation.
Wildlife accidents in Colorado
The number of car accidents involving wildlife has become a particular concern for the state of Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation and several other organizations partner each year on the “Wildlife on the Move” campaign, a public awareness program aimed at decreasing the number of these collisions.
During the past decade, the state averaged more than 3,000 wildlife-related car accidents. That number reflects only the accidents reported to police or other officials, so the actual number is much higher. These accidents result in average property damage claims of $3,100 and, of course, can also result in injury to the driver and/or passengers in some cases.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife lists the highest risk zones as:
- Interstate 70 (Floyd Hill, Mt. Vernon Canyon and Eagle)
- US 285 (Morrison)
- Highway 160 (Durango to Pagosa Springs and Durango to Mancos)
- Highway 550 (north of Durango and from Montrose to Ouray)
- Interstate 25 (Castle Rock to Larkspur)
- Highway 82 (Glenwood Springs to Aspen)
- Highway 36 (Boulder to Lyons)
- Highway 93 (Golden to Boulder)
Tips for Safer Driving in Colorado
Before you grab your keys for your next Colorado drive, remember these tips for safer driving:
- Stay alert. Reduce or eliminate distractions while driving, including cell phones, radio, eating while driving, conversations with passengers and more. Focus on the road at all times.
- Practice defensive driving. Remember that it’s not a competition when you get behind the wheel. Your vehicle could cause injury or death to you or others. Follow the speed limit, follow at a safe distance, slow down in rain or snow, etc. See more defensive driving tips.
- Buckle up. As mentioned above, unbuckled drivers account for a large percentage of traffic deaths. Make sure you and everyone in the car are buckled up, and follow guidelines for car seat safety for your children.
- Wear a helmet. If you drive a motorcycle or travel by bicycle, wear a helmet and use available safety gear. These measures save lives.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Colorado, contact us for a free case evaluation.