COLORADO SPRINGS — The number of Coloradoans killed in traffic crashes continues at a troubling rate. Totals are similar to high numbers a year go. Year to date numbers are down slightly statewide. At the same time the southeast region of the state, which includes El Paso County and Pueblo County, is showing numbers higher than a year ago.
As of mid-July, the number of people killed in crashes reached 302 for all of Colorado. For the same period in 2020 there were 310 deaths.
The 2021 total is 74 for the southeast region. It was 72 a year ago.
Up just a little in some regions, down just a little in other regions. Either way, law enforcement is looking for ways to get numbers far lower. "The one thing we never want people to forget about when we talk about numbers, you look at numbers, these are real people, these are real tragic events," said Lt. Jakes Sokolik with Colorado Springs Police Department.
Speed is the top contributor to deadly crashes, but not the only one. Racing red lights, driving under the influence, using cell phones while driving, are all part of the problem. "Those are decisions they've made that result in this crash. that's not an accidental thing," said Sokolik. He says deadly crashes are rarely accidents.
Drivers making dangerous decisions can also choose safer actions. Officers do enforcement, there are education efforts, engineering studies change infrastructure. They are all ways to influence drivers. Sokolik said bringing the number of traffic deaths down significantly, will take more than influence. “We can’t make you a better driver.” Drivers have to recognize risks and dangers; then choose to slow down, put down phones, and let someone else drive if they have been drinking.