Despite Monday night's tragic news of a fatal accident on Highway 6&50, Colorado agencies say they've seen a consistent drop in highway traffic fatalities since 2002. The Colorado Department of Transportation gave NewsChannel 5 their preliminary numbers for 2011, and so far, it looks like this positive trend of lives being saved may continue.
"Every year since 2002, we've seen a reduction in fatal injury crashes," says Sgt. Jeff Lytle of the Colorado State Patrol.
The Colorado State Patrol feels they've been effective through high visibility program like the Click It or Ticket and the Heat Is On campaigns.
"On average, our troopers arrest over 6,000 proactive DUIs every year. That equates to about one every 84 minutes," says Sgt. Lytle.
Engineering has also played a very important role. In the last decade, rumble strips have been placed on highways to warn drivers when they start driving off the road.
"An alarm to let someone know they're veering out of their lane is a really good thing. Those have probably been the most effective things we developed," says Zane Znamenacek of the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The state's preliminary number of traffic fatalities for 2011 so far is at 403. That is less than in 2010, which was the lowest CDOT had seen in three decades.
"Obviously, any fatalities are unacceptable, and there's always things we can do to strive to do better, but it's really exciting to see at least we're on the right track," says Znamenacek.
The Colorado Department of Transportation Traffic Fatalities Data:
- 606 traffic fatalities in 2005
- 535 traffic fatalities in 2006
- 554 traffic fatalities in 2007
- 548 traffic fatalities in 2008
- 465 traffic fatalities in 2009
- 448 traffic fatalities in 2010
- 403 traffic fatalities in 2011 (As of November 30, 2011)