Why Traffic Deaths In Colorado Are The Highest In 40 Years

Mar 15, 2023 | Car Accidents, Driving Safety

Last year 745 people died in Colorado car crashes. That’s the highest number of traffic fatalities in the state since 1981, prompting discussion among public safety agencies about how to improve roadway safety.

Unfortunately, the 2022 figures don’t just reflect a bad year, nor is it merely a symptom of population growth. After decades of significant progress in lowering the casualty rate, the state has seen a steady rise in traffic deaths over the past decade. The 57% increase since 2012 includes a record number of people not inside a vehicle at all. More than a third of those killed on the roads in 2022 were pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists, all of whom are at greater risk of serious injury or death in a collision than those in a car.

Serious as it is, the fatality rate isn’t the only disturbing trend. For every traffic death, another five people are seriously injured in crashes on Colorado’s roads. “These injuries can leave a devastating lifelong toll on individuals and their families,” said Keith Stefanik, chief engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation, in a prepared statement.

CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol are looking at various measures to improve road designs, protect vulnerable roadway users such as motorcyclists, and address “dangerous driving behaviors” that have contributed to the increase. Those behaviors include speeding, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, and distracted driving.

Impaired driving deaths increased to 278 in 2022. That’s up by almost sixty percent from 2019, with more drivers involved in crashes testing above the legal limit for THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

“What we’re seeing across Colorado are the consequences when too many drivers ignore the rules of the road, and it’s unacceptable,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Law enforcement alone can’t solve the problem. Drive sober, wear seat belts, obey speed limits and be mindful of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists—treat your fellow road users with common courtesy, and collectively we will improve safety across our communities.”


For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley,  Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, bicycle or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.