Downturn in Colorado Fatal Highway Crashes
It’s nice to be able to share some positive news for a change. Anne Imse, a writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette, writes:
The number of people killed on Colorado highways dropped 5 percent last year from the previous year to 439, continuing a dramatic decline in the state’s road-death toll.
Nine years ago, 743 people died on highways across the state. That’s 304 more than in 2010, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
This steady and dramatic drop in highway fatalities gives the Colorado State Patrol renewed confidence that they can achieve their stated goal: Zero highway deaths in Colorado by 2025.
There are many factors that officials credit with contributing to this welcome decline in auto accidents. Improved roads with rumble strips down the center, more advanced EMT capabilities, and safer automobiles to name a few. Many believe that it stems from greater awareness and education among drivers themselves. Imse reports:
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. John Hahn wants everyone to face the reality that car crashes are rarely true accidents. ‘The crashes that we see in this country are preventable,’ he said.
Since distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving are all preventable, I agree with his assessment.
Here is the video coverage of this story from 9News:
An interesting footnote to all this new data: One factor expected to worsen — drunk driving rates — has failed to do so. In June of 2008, the Colorado state legislature put an end to one of the blue laws preventing alcohol sales on Sundays. While those critical of the move predicted a jump in drunk driving fatalities, it has failed to materialize. Additionally, state tax revenues from alcohol sales jumped by a solid 6%.
Colorado State Patrol spokeswoman Heather Cobler released a statement that the drunk driving death toll on Colorado’s highways dropped from 20 in 2009 to only six in 2010. In addition, troopers gave out 1,100 fewer tickets to intoxicated drivers who were not involved in any crashes.