Every year, thousands of people end up in hospitals after being involved in motor vehicle accidents in Colorado. Sadly, not all of these victims will get to go home. According to the latest crash statistics from the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were 538 fatal crashes in 2021 and 2,797 serious injury crashes. Identifying the leading causes of car accidents in Colorado can help you avoid a collision and stay safe.
Distracted driving accounts for the highest number of Colorado car accidents each year. Data compiled between 2005 and 2019 reports around 213,686 crashes caused by driver distraction as the human contributing factor. Of the distractions identified, cell phones were the main cause of car accidents (19,770), followed by passengers (19,450).
Distracted driving is dangerous because it takes away a driver’s ability to react safely and appropriately to changing roadway situations. A driver who is looking down at a text message, for example, may not notice a pedestrian crossing the road. Aside from cell phone use, other common causes of distracted driving are eating and drinking, changing the radio station, personal grooming, and daydreaming.
The second-highest number of Colorado car accidents from the research period was caused by driver inexperience (145,128 accidents). Driver inexperience generally refers to a teen or adolescent driver who is newly licensed, has a learner’s permit, or is unlicensed and driving illegally. New and inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause car accidents due to a lack of familiarity with the motor vehicle and traffic laws, as well as no real-world experience navigating dangerous road situations, such as heavy traffic or bad weather.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is the third leading cause of car accidents in Colorado. Drunk and drugged drivers can make dangerous mistakes behind the wheel, such as speeding, reckless driving, driving the wrong way, making unsafe lane changes and running red lights. This significantly increases the risk of car accidents. Data from 2019 shows the highest number of DUI accidents reported in Adams County (659) and Archuleta County (634). Drunk driving is especially prominent around the holidays.
Aggressive driving was listed as the human contributing factor in 71,224 car accidents in Colorado between 2005 and 2019. The number of these accidents reported has steadily climbed over the years, from 1,559 in 2006 to 6,896 in 2019. This may be a sign of an increase in aggressive driver behaviors. These behaviors can include speeding, racing, tailgating, brake-checking, weaving in and out of traffic, and driver violence. All of these aggressive behaviors increase the risk of car accidents.
Drowsy driving has been compared to drunk driving in the effects that it has on drivers. Driving while tired or fatigued increases the risk of a driver missing traffic signs, violating road rules and falling asleep behind the wheel. These can all cause serious traffic accidents in Colorado.
Drowsy driving is especially dangerous in the commercial trucking industry, where it is common among long-haul truckers who have unusual sleeping schedules and overnight drives. Drivers have a responsibility to get ample sleep before a drive, especially a long road trip, and to pull over if they start feeling tired.
When to Contact a Car Accident Attorney
All of the top causes of car accidents in Colorado have to do with human error. In Colorado, if a driver is negligent or reckless and causes a car crash, his or her insurance company will be responsible for paying for the medical bills and property damage of the victims. If any of these common driver-related causes of car accidents recently injured you, contact a car accident attorney in Denver for a free legal consultation. You may be eligible for financial compensation.