Lists

Where in Colorado You're Most Likely to Die on Road, Be Killed by Drunk Driver

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According to new data released by the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado traffic fatalities are up 29 percent since 2014, with casualties last year reaching their highest total since 2004. In addition, CDOT has shared data about the counties and cities in the state with the most traffic deaths overall and separate statistics about the incidents that involved an impaired driver. Many, but not all, of the places with the worst figures can be traced to the Denver metro area.

In 2017, CDOT reveals, there were 630 traffic fatalities in Colorado, up 4 percent from the previous year, when 608 people lost their lives on the state's roads and highways.

Moreover, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Colorado ranks 36th in the United States in terms of seat-belt usage; 16 percent of drivers here don't buckle up, CDOT maintains. Given this proclivity, it's no surprise that 211 unbelted deaths in passenger vehicles took place during 2017.

Not all the news was bad. Motorcycle fatalities actually declined last year, falling from 125 deaths in 2016 to 101 in 2017, and bicycle casualties remained flat at sixteen during both of the past two years — though the numbers were lower in 2015 (fourteen) and 2014 (ten).

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This CDOT graphic shows that traffic fatalities in Colorado hit their highest total since 2004.
Colorado Department of Transportation
However, pedestrian deaths are up dramatically, from 64 in 2015 to a stunning 93 last year.

Moreover, fatalities involving a driver impaired by either alcohol or drugs (the stats don't differentiate between the substances) went up 16 percent from 2016 to 2017, when 197 people died under such circumstances. And there were fifteen deaths in construction zones, more than double the seven that took place in 2016.

For more details, we've taken a deep dive into two other documents issued by CDOT, pertaining to 2017 deaths by county and city. In the former category, Denver finishes in fourth place in terms of raw figures, but it would actually be considerably lower if measured on a per capita basis. Far worse digits were registered in two northern Colorado counties and one in the state's second-largest metro area. City-wise, however, Denver scores no points for pride.

Click to access Colorado Department of Transportation data revealing fatal accidents in Colorado during 2017 by county and by city. Continue for separate countdowns of the ten counties and cities with the most fatalities last year.

FATAL ACCIDENTS IN COLORADO DURING 2017 BY COUNTY

Number 10: Douglas County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 18
Number of people killed: 18
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 5
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 5


Number 9: Boulder County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 27
Number of people killed: 30
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 4
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 5


Number 8: Pueblo County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 33
Number of people killed: 34
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 11
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 11


Number 7: Larimer County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 35
Number of people killed: 36
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 18
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 18


Number 6: Jefferson County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 36
Number of people killed: 42
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 12
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 17


Number 5: Arapahoe County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 42
Number of people killed: 45
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 16
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 16


Number 4: Denver County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 45
Number of people killed: 46
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 20
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 20


Number 3: Weld County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 58
Number of people killed: 63
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 18
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 22


Number 2: Adams County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 60
Number of people killed: 64
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 24
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 25


Number 1: El Paso County

Fatal accidents in 2017: 69
Number of people killed: 76
Impaired-related fatal accidents: 25
Number of people killed in impaired-related accidents: 29

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts