Which Means Heavier Traffic, Greater Congestion, More Accidents
According to World Population Review, between July 2017 and July 2018, the U.S. population grew six-tenths of a percent. Colorado was the ninth-fastest growing state at 2.63 percent, and two of the state’s cities, Fort Collins and Greeley, are experiencing especially dramatic growth.
During the 1970s, Greeley had a population of around 40,000, a number that has grown to around 107,000. The population is expected to at least double again in the next few decades. Relatively affordable housing, beautiful scenery, mild weather, and a favorable business climate are all making Greeley a hospitable place to be and to move to.
Although population growth often brings good things like economic development and opportunity, it is also linked to heavier traffic, greater congestion, and more automobile accidents.
Population Growth and Car Accidents
Many factors can affect the number of auto accidents in Greeley. Although economic development can have a positive effect on road traffic safety, a study recently published in Chinese Journal of Traumatology finds that the growth in mileage, new motor vehicles, and population can also increase traffic accidents and casualties.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents are the number one safety problem in American transportation, accounting for 94 percent of transportation deaths and 99 percent of injuries that are not fatal.
Greater congestion is often correlated with a rise in aggressive driving, the most extreme forms of which we call “road rage.” Aggressive drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to drink and drive, more likely to cut off other motorists, more likely to forego safety restraints. Research suggests that U.S. drivers tend to worry more about aggressive drivers than they do about impaired drivers.
Major population growth like Greeley’s influences the rate of traffic accidents. More people often leads to more travel miles and more exposure to possible car crashes. In the absence of countervailing factors like effective safety innovations, we can expect more accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Growth Versus Disregard as Accident Accelerator
Since 2014, the rate of fatal crashes in Colorado has increased by about 30 percent. Colorado’s population is growing faster than that of most states.
But according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), “the car accident fatality numbers are too high to be solely attributed to population growth.” Poor choices by drivers have also contributed to the jump in fatalities.
CDOT reports that crashes caused by impaired drivers were 41 percent greater in 2017 than in 2014. About 16 percent of drivers in the state do not wear seat belts, so that the state ranks a lowly 36th in the nation for seat-belt use.
A decade ago, more fatalities occurred in rural areas than in the urban areas of Colorado. But the ratio has gradually shifted. El Paso, Adams, Weld, Denver, and Arapahoe counties now account for the most fatalities in the state.
Were you seriously injured in a car accident in Greeley? With decades of experience and offices across the state, Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen has settled over $100 million dollars in claims for his clients. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling (303) 454-8000.