Grim trend continues as two fatal auto-pedestrian crashes add to the rising death toll

Two tragic auto-pedestrian crashes in the last two days, one in Thornton and one in Centennial add to a worrying pattern in Colorado, where pedestrians have perished in higher numbers on the state’s streets for the past four years.

Both collisions have a common theme: they happened before dawn.

Most pedestrians are killed in the dark when they’re difficult to see – when it’s difficult for drivers to see, and when pedestrians themselves can’t see what’s going on around them,” said Sam Cole, traffic safety manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The death on Sunday near East 120th Avenue in Thornton was caused by a hit-and-run. Investigators are seeking for a gray car with front-end damage, according to Thornton Police spokesperson Joe Walker.

In Monday’s fatal incident, the driver collided with a homeless man pulling a shopping cart across Arapahoe Road. The driver remained on the scene and is cooperating with authorities, according to Ginger Delgado, spokesperson for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

“While the number of impaired driver deaths is coming down and the number of people not buckling up is coming down, the one thing that continues to increase are pedestrian deaths,” he said.

In 2020, there were 93 pedestrian fatalities on state roadways, setting a new record.

That figure rose to 94 in 2021, then surged to 115 in 2022.

Last year, it jumped to 136, accounting for 19% of all road deaths in the state. That’s almost one out of every five deaths.

This year hasn’t started off too well. The 17 auto-pedestrian fatalities in January and February accounted for 24% of all traffic deaths in the state during those months.

Cole cited a number of explanations, including the widespread use of larger cars such as pickup trucks and SUVs, as well as a significant increase in reckless driving after the COVID pandemic began in 2020.

While work is underway to remodel roads and make other adjustments to make them safer for pedestrians, such as installing new stripes, lights, and crosswalks, this will not be completed quickly.

“Those projects take time,” Cole explained. “Changing your driving behavior doesn’t take much time. That means driving slower, being more vigilant, staying off your phone, and never driving when inebriated.”

The duty does not fall solely on the drivers.

“I think there should also be a message for pedestrians out there. “You know, our roads can be dangerous,” Cole explained. “That’s why pedestrians also have to be incredibly aware of what’s going on around them.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *