Who is Likely to Die in a Colorado Collision?
The Colorado Department of Traffic (CDOT) recently released a report on fatal vehicle collisions from 2002-2010. Split up in groups, the numbers show just who is most vulnerable when it comes to vehicle accidents in Colorado. The categories include: drivers over 65, drivers under 65, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicycle riders. There are a few trends that may surprise you.
Drivers Under 65
The most at-risk group is drivers under the age of 65. This age group is large and makes up a vast majority of the people currently on the road. While there are plenty of seasoned drivers in their 30s-60s, there are also many teens experiencing the road and all its hazards for the first time. In 2019 alone, 240 drivers under 65 were killed in vehicle accidents. That makes up 40.5% of the total for the year.
For a time, this number was dropping. In 2012 only 176 drivers under 65 were killed in vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, since then the number of fatalities for this group has been slowly but steadily increasing.
Motorcycles can be incredibly dangerous to operate, and in a collision with a car, the motorcyclist will often end up being the more injured party. Last year cyclists made up 17.7% of all fatalities, with 102 deaths total. This makes them the second most at risk group when involved in crashes.
The number of motorcycle fatalities has been on the rise for the past decade, with only 70 in 2003 and 79 in 2011. As more and more Coloradans buy motorcycles, the death toll seems to just keep going up. It seems likely that this trend will continue in 2020.
In 2019, 97 vehicle passengers died, contributing 16.4% of the total number of fatalities. Sadly, there isn’t much that passengers can do to increase their safety. That is up to the drivers. Passengers rarely have any control over what happens in a car. They are often just caught in the crosshairs of distracted, negligent, or risky driving.
Pedestrians, or people involved in accidents that were not operating a vehicle of any kind, make up 12.8% of fatalities in 2019. Surprisingly, that number has dropped significantly from 2018, when 90 pedestrians were killed.
Drivers Over 65
One of the smallest at risk groups, drivers either 65 or over, only contributed 9.9% of fatalities to the total, with 59 deaths. In Colorado, there is no upper age limit to driving, although vision tests are required for drivers over 66. The average life expectancy spans from 67 to 89, meaning that this particular group of drivers is likely very small, especially when compared to drivers under 65. This would explain why these drivers, despite having diminished hand-eye coordination and reaction times, count for less than 10% of overall fatalities.
Finally, we have bicyclists. People operating bicycles make up only 3.2% of fatalities. In total, 19 people died in the year 2019. This is down from 2018, with 22 fatalities.
It isn’t all bad news, however. Fatality rates have dropped since 2002. In the past 17 years, they have gone from 743 to 593. There are many possible reasons for this. Safer cars, stricter driving laws, or perhaps we Coloradans have simply become better drivers. Whatever the reason, hopefully this decline will continue into 2020.
But if it doesn’t and you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the wrongful death lawyers at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. We fight for our clients and will work to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.