While the overall number of crash deaths in the United States has decreased slightly, the motor vehicle accident fatality rate has been increasing in Denver, making it one of the highest per capita among large cities. Denver’s accident fatality rate is much higher than the rates of some large cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Several factors, including the improved economy, more people taking to the roads, and riskier driving behaviors, have contributed to the increase.
Fatality Rate Increases
According to the Denver Post, a study that was conducted of 23 large cities found that the city’s fatality rate was higher per capita than the rates in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. On the list, the higher-ranked cities had the lowest traffic fatality rates. While Denver was ranked at 17 out of 23, Washington, D.C. was ranked at number one, demonstrating that it is safer despite its larger population.
In Colorado, 642 people lost their lives to car accidents in 2017, the highest number in over a decade. In 2016, there were 208 crash fatalities.
There are several reasons that traffic deaths have been increasing in Denver. Improvements to the economy have led to a lower unemployment rate, meaning more people are on the roads commuting to and from work. More people are also able to take road trips because of the economic improvements, making them likelier to be involved in accidents. Another factor that has contributed to the increase in traffic deaths is engaging in risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving. Many drivers continue to talk and text on their phones while they drive despite prohibitions against the behavior. Modern cars also have other distractions inside such as infotainment systems that can divert the attention of the drivers away from the road.
Motorists can help prevent car accidents by keeping their attention on the roads and the traffic around them at all times. They should avoid engaging in any distracting activity while they drive, including using their phones, adjusting their electronics or looking at maps. Drivers should never get behind the wheel after they have been drinking or when they are drowsy. People should also follow the traffic rules and drive defensively.