Preliminary data shows Colorado on track to have similar number of traffic deaths this year

DENVER – Traffic deaths on Colorado roads started slowly this year, but a recent uptick is causing concern.

Data from the state shows there had been 130 traffic fatalities on Colorado roads so far in 2017 as of April 17. When extrapolating out for the rest of the year, that number would come to between 400-460, should current trends continue.

But updated numbers Tuesday from the state showed there have been 157 deaths as of May 1, which would put the state at a higher average than last year, which saw the most traffic deaths in over a decade.

That comes before times of the year that see the highest number of traffic deaths are still upcoming, including the Fourth of July, Labor Day and New Year's Eve.

And at the same point last year, there were 143 traffic fatalities.

2016 saw the highest number of traffic deaths in Colorado since 2004, and the 608 deaths last year continued a steady increase in traffic deaths from when they bottomed out at 447 in 2011.

And the 125 motorcycle deaths in 2016 were the most ever recorded in Colorado, and marked a 15 percent increase over 2015.

But Colorado State Patrol and other state law enforcement agencies have made traffic enforcement a renewed focus this year, with several high-profile campaigns aimed at stopping dangerous drivers and drivers who fail to move over for emergency vehicles along the side of roads.

The State Patrol has made it a goal to reduce the number or fatal and injury crashes investigated by troopers statewide by 5 percent this year. The department aims to reduce DUI and unrestrained fatality crashes by 5 percent as well.

The 2017 data is preliminary and comes as is reported to the Colorado Department of Transportation by the NHTSA and FARS.

Editor's Note: This article originally stated that Colorado could be on track to see its fewest deaths in more than a decade, but when receiving updated numbers from the state, has been changed to show that deaths might be similar to last year's numbers.


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