Deadly increase in accidents on Colorado roads

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — El Paso County was the fourth-deadliest county for driving deaths in Colorado in 2015.

The stats from CDOT showed an overall 10 percent increase in fatalities throughout the state from 2014 to 2015, with 545 total deaths on Colorado roads.

A record 104 of the deaths were motorcyclists. About half of the 545 deaths were people who didn’t buckle up. About 33 percent were a result of DUIs.

“I think the truth is most people think that it’s not going to happen to them and so that gives you a false sense of security,” said Maile Gray, the Drive Smart Colorado Springs Executive Director.

People not wearing seat belts was the most concerning thing for CDOT.

“Seat belts were an innovation of the 1960s and the idea that there are still huge numbers of people dying across the country who are not wearing seat belts is unacceptable,” said Shailen Bhatt, the Executive Director of CDOT.

One solution is legislation that would make not wearing your seat belt a primary violation, meaning cops can pull you over for not buckling up.

“If you look around the country, the data is clear. Where there is a primary seat belt law in effect the fatalities go down. So, we know that this is effective. We also know it is politically unpopular,” said Bhatt.

“If the state of Colorado was to be able to pass a primary law we know that we would save up to 60 lives a year just by doing that,” said Gray.

CDOT and state patrol will be stepping up both education programs and crackdowns to help decrease these numbers, but we can’t rely on police alone to stop people from dying.

“You need to want to do it for yourself and for your family,” said Gray.

The 10-year trend for driving deaths show a decrease of around 20 percent, but this one-year trend is so worrisome that officials want to put a stop to it, so the trend doesn’t go the other way.

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