COLORADO SPRINGS — “Everybody does think they’re a good driver and they think they’re not going to get into a crash." said Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Safety Communications Manager, Sam Cole.
Data gathered on crashes in Colorado shows over the last five years there are between 119,000 to nearly 122,000 crashes each year in Colorado. “We see about 600 traffic deaths every single year,” said Cole. It breaks down to nearly two deaths a day in traffic crashes.
"We have to turn the mirror on ourselves when it comes to how we drive.” Cole tracks what causes crashes in Colorado. He says most crashes are not accidents. Rather, “94%” happen because of poor choices by people. “Do we choose to buckle up; do we choose to drive impaired; do we choose to be on our phones; do we choose to speed?” said Cole, “These are things that lead to crashes in our state."
Data also shows leading cause of crashes. “We have to get people educated; we have to get those behaviors changed and the only way we’re going to do that is getting people talking,” said Cole.
If people know the most common causes of crashes, they can identify risk behavior. It may be self- evaluation of discussion with friends and family.
Among the leading causes of crashes is distracted driving. That can be using cell phones, tuning in a radio, turning to talk to a passenger, or anything else that causes a driver to lose focus on the road.
Cole says society makes it okay to tell someone who has been drinking, they should not be driving. Yet, there is hesitation with dangerous distracted driving. “We’re not calling out people when they pick up their phone in their vehicle and take their eyes of the road.”
Look at the most recent CDOT data in the chart below to see the causes of crashes. Ask yourself which ones could be you?
CDOT Crash data