CDOT Report Identifies 2015 Traffic Safety Issues

May 24, 2017 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Unrestrained fatalities increased by 21 percent

STATEWIDE — Today the Colorado Department of Transportation released its annual description of motor vehicle crashes on Colorado roadways. The Problem Identification Report includes crashes that occurred in 2015 and is used by CDOT along with law enforcement, local agencies, nonprofit organizations, and public health and prevention professionals to identify traffic safety problems and target areas for the development of prevention programs.

“With traffic fatalities on the rise, this report provides critical information to help guide prevention efforts and dedication of resources to communities most affected,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Understanding the modifiable risk factors associated with fatal crashes can help us address unsafe behaviors and ultimately save lives.”

In 2015, speed-related fatalities (216), unrestrained passenger vehicle fatalities (188), and fatalities with a driver impaired by alcohol (151) accounted for the three largest proportions of the 546 motor vehicle deaths. This represents a 12 percent increase in overall fatalities from 2014.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Unrestrained passenger vehicle fatalities increased by 21 percent from 2014 and represented 54 percent of all passenger vehicle fatalities (346)
  • Speeding-related fatalities increased by 29 percent over 2014 and comprised 40 percent of all fatalities.
  • Deaths involving an alcohol-impaired driver decreased by six percent.
  • Motorcycle deaths rose to 106, which was a 13 percent increase from 2014.

Fatalities in urban areas increased nine percent from 260 deaths in 2014 to 284 in 2015, outnumbering the 260 rural deaths in 2015. But rural areas saw a larger percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities than urban areas. There was a 14 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities in rural areas from 228 fatalities in 2014 to 260 fatalities in 2015.

The counties with the highest number of traffic fatalities in 2015 were: Jefferson (55), Weld (55), Denver, (51), El Paso (48), and Adams (44).  There were 27 counties with a motor vehicle fatality rate (per 100,000 population) at least two times higher than the 2015 state rate of 10.0: Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Dolores, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Mineral, Moffat, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Phillips, Prowers, Rio Grande, Sedgwick, Teller, Washington, and Yuma.

Motor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death across Colorado. Motor vehicle fatalities were on the decline and reached a low of 447 deaths in 2011; but since then fatalities have been increasing. Overall, in 2015 there were 122,575 motor vehicle crashes, a 7 percent increase from 2014.

Readers of the report are cautioned against utilizing one-year of data to draw conclusions; but instead are advised to evaluate trends over time, such as percent change over five-years.

A copy of the report is available at: