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Just-Released Stats Show Colorado's Roads Are Getting More Dangerous

The Colorado Department of Transportation has just released its 2016 Problem Identification Report.

And, unfortunately, there are problems aplenty.

The statistics are from 2014 — the most recent year for which data is final. And during that span, the number of fatal crashes rose substantially from the year before, as did the number of people fatally injured.

There were also more injury crashes (a lot more), a big bump in the number of motorcyclists who died in crashes during which they weren't wearing helmets, and more.


Below, we've highlighted many of the document's main conclusions, featuring CDOT stats and text, as well as photos from previous Westword coverage. This material is followed by the complete report.

FATAL CRASHES

In 2014, there were:

• 451 fatal crashes; 20 crashes higher than occurred in 2013.


• 488 persons were fatally injured; a 1.5 percent increase from 2013.

• 168 speeding-related fatalities; comprising 34 percent of all fatalities.

The counties with the highest number of traffic fatalities were: Weld (54), El Paso (53), Jefferson (44), Denver (42) and Adams (33).

In 2014, there were 24 counties with a fatality rate (per 100,000 population) two times higher than the 2014 state rate of 9.3: Archuleta, Alamosa, Bent, Cheyenne, Custer, Eagle, Grand, Gunnison, Huerfano, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Montezuma, Morgan, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Prowers, San Juan, San Miguel, Sedwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma.

In 2014, there were 16 counties where the number of fatal injuries exceeded (by more than three people) what would be expected based on the state average: Eagle, Fremont, Garfield, Lincoln, Mesa, Montrose, Morgan, Park, Prowers, Pueblo, Saguache, San Miguel, Washington, Weld and Yuma.

INJURY CRASHES

In 2014, there were:

• 12,323 injury crashes; a 28 percent increase from 2013.

• 7,304 serious injury crashes.

• 3,224 serious injuries from crashes; a 2.9 percent decrease from 2013.

The counties with the highest number of serious injuries were: Denver (610), Arapahoe (382), El Paso (293), Jefferson (257), Adams (243), Weld (206), Larimer (164) and Boulder (180).

In 2014, there were 17 counties with a serious injury rate (per 100,000 population) two times higher than the 2014 state rate of 61: Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Dolores, Gilpin, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Mineral, Park, Saguache, San Juan and Washington.

In 2014, there were 32 counties where the number of serious injuries exceeded (by more than three people) what would be expected based on the state average: Arapahoe, Archuleta, Bent, Boulder, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Delta, Denver, Eagle, Elbert, Gilpin, Gunnison, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, La Plata Lincoln, Mesa, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Park, Phillips, Rio Grande, Saguache, Teller, Washington and Weld.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION

• 164 of 319 (51 percent) motor vehicle occupants who died in a fatal crash in 2014 were not using seat belts or other restraints.

• 530 of the 1,941 (27 percent) motor vehicle occupants who were seriously injured in a crash in 2014 were not using seat belts or other restraints.

• The estimate of overall statewide seat belt usage for all vehicle types in 2014 was 82.4 percent, a slight increase from 82.1 percent in 2013.

• In 2014, the counties with the highest number of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities were: Weld (22), El Pason (18), Arapahoe (12), Jefferson (12) and Adams (11).

• Of the 29 counties in the 2014 Statewide Seat Belt Survey, observed seat belt use was below the 2015 state goal of 84.0 percent for the following counties: Pueblo (63.4 percent), Delta (69.1 percent), Boulder (74.5 percent), Montrose (75.2 percent), Fremont (76.2 percent), Eagle (76.7 percent) and El Paso (80.1 percent).

IMPAIRED DRIVING

• In 2014, there were 160 estimated fatalities where a driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or over 0.08; corresponding to a 13 percent increase from 2013.

• In 2014, the counties with the highest number of fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC equal to or over 0.08 were: El Paso (18), Jefferson (14), Denver (13), Weld (12) and Adams (12).

Continue for more information about dangers on Colorado roadways, including a new Colorado Department of Transportation Problem Identification Report.

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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