For over a decade, the year 2004 held the record for deaths on the roads of Colorado. Sadly, 2017 broke that record with an increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents from the previous year. In fact, since 2014, the percentage of fatalities rose around 29 percent.
The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that 630 people lost their lives in vehicle crashes in 2017. One of the most alarming rises in numbers happened in auto versus pedestrian accidents. Last year, 93 pedestrians died, which is a dramatic increase from the still high number of 64 in 2015. With an increase of 16 percent from 2016, 197 people died in accidents involving a driver impaired by either drugs or alcohol.
A lack of seat belt use contributed to 211 deaths. Bicycle fatalities remained steady over those years while deaths in motorcycle crashes actually dropped to 101 in 2017 from 125 in 2016. A large number of the crashes that occurred last year could have been prevented. Even in a time when people have more access to information than any other time in history, people still fail to wear their seat belts and refrain from drinking or taking drugs prior to driving. In addition, distracted driving is a growing problem as well.
Families who lose their loved ones in fatal motor vehicle accidents may have some legal recourse against those believed responsible. If the evidence presented to the court proves another party's negligence led to the death, an award of damages may follow. Any restitution received will not bring back a lost family member, but it could help with the expenses that accompany a sudden death.