Pedestrian fatalities hit all time high in 2022, CDOT calls for heightened awareness during summer

Traffic Safety Pulse News

With summer’s arrival, more people are getting out of their cars and walking. As pedestrian traffic increases, so does the need for drivers and pedestrians to stay alert to avoid injury. The reminder comes as Colorado hits its highest level of pedestrian fatalities on record. In 2022, 111 pedestrians were killed on Colorado roads, representing 15% of the state's total traffic fatalities.

This year is also seeing an increase in the number of deaths. So far in 2023, there have been 51 pedestrian fatalities in Colorado — up 14% from this time last year. Denver (9), El Paso (7), Arapahoe (7) and Jefferson (7) counties have seen the most pedestrian fatalities so far in 2023 among all Colorado counties. Typically, the vast majority of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. El Paso and Jefferson counties have seen alarming increases this year, each with seven pedestrian deaths so far in 2023, compared with just one for each county at this same time last year.

“There is no contest between a vehicle and a person on foot, bicycle, skateboard or scooter. Drivers have to stay alert and watch for the unexpected,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Pedestrians also need to unplug, look up and follow traffic safety rules. When we all share the same roadways, we all share the same responsibility.”

Graph showing annual total pedestrian fatalities in Colorado from 2002-2022.

CDOT offers the following reminders for pedestrians:

  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections.
  • Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
  • Stay off your phone when crossing the street.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your judgment.

For drivers, CDOT recommends:

  • Treat those outside of vehicles with equal respect.
  • Look out for pedestrians and bicyclists at all times.
  • Stop before a crosswalk, not in it.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • When the light turns green, go slow, check your surroundings and proceed with caution.
  • At night, reduce your speed and make sure your headlights are on.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street, in school zones and in neighborhoods.

“We urge both pedestrians and drivers to use caution and obey traffic laws,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Highway Safety Office at CDOT. “Our state’s population has grown significantly, and with more people out walking this time of year, the need is greater than ever to be alert at all times.”

Click here to read more about pedestrian fatalities in 2022.