DENVER – A total of 59 people have died on Colorado highways so far this year, statistics from the Colorado State Patrol show, a small increase from the same time last year.
In 2016, only 41 people had died from crashes on our state highways in March, data from the Colorado State Patrol demonstrate.
(Traffic deaths in 2016; Courtesy: Colorado State Patrol)
The number is alarming, as traffic deaths are accelerating at a fast pace.
Data shows since 2014, deaths from crashes are up 24 percent, with 605 deaths in 2016 and 547 deaths in 2015. The increase is a stark change from a trend started in 2002, when through 2014, traffic deaths had dropped 34 percent.
"Colorado is growing, but that doesn't mean traffic fatalities must grow too," Shailen Bhatt, the Colorado Department of Transportation executive director told Denver7 earlier this year. "A lot can be done to mitigate the increase; for example, if everyone buckled up we could save over 60 lives every year."
Bhatt points to the current seat belt-use rate of 84 percent, noting those without seatbelts represent 186 motorists who died in crashes in 2016.
Likelihood of getting into a crash in Colorado
One in 33 drivers in Colorado will crash in 2017, but Bhatt has noted they don't have to be fatal. Common-sense measures can protect lives.
In Adams County, 60 people died in crashes. In Weld County, 56 died in crashes. In Denver County, 54 died in crashes.
Thirty-three percent of fatal crashes are likely to involve alcohol. In 2016, 196 fatalities were connected to the substance.
In order to avoid becoming a statistic, CDOT advises drivers to keep their eyes on the road, avoid drinking and driving, reduce speed and use safety measures like seat belts and helmets.