GOLDEN, Colo. - When a state trooper was rear ended on the side of the road on Monday, it marked the 22nd time this year that another driver collided with a CSP cruiser.
Compare that to all of 2013, when trooper vehicles were hit 19 times.
"I'm upset. It fires me up and it fires our agency up because this stuff can be avoided," said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nate Reid.
Since 2005, state law has required drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.
7NEWS rode along with CSP on Wednesday and witnessed drivers failing to obey the law, getting within inches of the state trooper's vehicle on the shoulder of the highway.
"If they are unable to move over the lane for any reason, they need to slow down," said Reid.
On C-470, between Morrison Road and Alameda Avenue, we watched as Reid pulled to the right shoulder to help protect a driver whose vehicle had broken down. While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, multiple cars failed to get over from the third lane on the far right, despite the trooper's lights activated.
Once the tow truck driver arrived, we witnessed two vehicles get within inches of clipping the driver as he loaded the vehicle onto the bed of the truck.
"The furthest that guy was away from that tow driver was maybe five or six feet. That's not enough room," said Reid.
7NEWS requested statistics from Colorado State Patrol. So far in 2014:
-17 crashes happened in snowy or wet driving conditions
-16 crashes involved a trooper who was either blocking a lane of traffic or partially blocking the lane
-14 occurred while the trooper was investigating another car accident
-13 were caused by drivers who exceeded safe speed for the conditions
-13 happened in daylight hours
The most recent crash happened on Monday, when a trooper was still on the side of the road finishing his investigation of a crash on I-70 near Silver Plume.
According to Reid, the driver who hit the trooper was likely driving too close to the car in front of him for the snowy conditions.
"He panicked and the only thing he could think was to veer out of the way of hitting the vehicle in front of him and going on the shoulder, and that's when he hit this trooper's car," said Reid. "There are too many cars out here that are damaged because of this exact same thing."
The damaged vehicles are towed to the Colorado State Patrol Academy in Golden, where the equipment is removed since the car is likely totaled.
"We're not going to put a vehicle that has been damaged … back out on the road. We won't put a trooper in that type of danger," said Reid. "This vehicle would have to stand up to the exact same crash again."
State Patrol does have a fleet of vehicles waiting to be retrofit with lights, radios and sirens. It takes about seven days to convert a vehicle to be ready for the road.
"Road worthy for the lay person driving on the road is different than a patrol car, that often times has to drive extreme speeds and perform in extreme natures," said Reid. "This is not a cheap process, absolutely not."
Statistics from the 41 trooper vehicles hit in 2013:
-26 crashes happened in snowy or wet driving conditions
-26 crashes involved a trooper who was either blocking a lane of traffic or partially blocking the lane
-24 occurred while the trooper was investigating another car accident
-22 happened in daylight hours
-18 were caused by drivers who exceeded safe speed for the conditions
-12 were caused by inattentive driving