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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver in Colorado


Fatalities in Colorado Car Crashes Involving DUI (Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol)

In a recent analysis by Bachus & Schanker, LLC that looked at statistics from The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of alcohol-related fatalities, some interesting trends emerged across Colorado’s 63 counties. State-wide, alcohol-related deaths have consistently dropped since 2004. However, some counties showed marked increases. Particularly disturbing numbers come from Jefferson County, where the number of alcohol-related fatalities doubled from 2004 to 2005, and increased again in 2006 and in Arapahoe County where the number of drunk driving deaths more than doubled from 2004 to 2008. In contrast, Adams, Denver, and Weld counties, while showing large numbers of fatalities, had significant drops in traffic fatalities involving alcohol.

Overall, alcohol-related traffic deaths have decreased in Colorado since 2004. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and CDOT’s “The Heat is On” campaign have been successful in increasing public awareness which has contributed to the reduction of crashes involving drunk drivers.

Colorado Alcohol-Related Fatalities* from 2004 – 2008

Colorado alcohol related fatalities

*Based on the BAC of all those involved in the crash, including drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Alcohol-related fatalities in the State of Colorado decreased from 2004 – 2008, as did fatalities in crashes where Blood Alcohol Counts (BAC) were greater than 0.08 (BAC=0.08+).

Colorado DUI Arrests from 2004 – 2008

Drunk driving arrests

Colorado Fatalities Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC=0.08+) by County from 2004 – 2008

DUI arrests by county

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities from 2004 – 2008

County Fatalities Weld 91 Jefferson 89 Denver 85 El Paso 81 Adams 69 Arapahoe 63 Larimer 38 Pueblo 36 Douglas 31 Boulder 32 Other Counties 306 Total All Counties 921

Source: NHTSA

Top 10 Counties – Fewest Fatalities from 2004 – 2008

County Fatalities Kiowa 0 Lincoln 0 Phillips 0 Sedgwick 0 Conejos 1 Dolores 1 Hinsdale 1 Mineral 1 Ouray 1 San Juan 1 Other Counties 915 Total All Counties 921

Source: NHTSA

When comparing the long term statistics from 2004 to 2008, while Weld County had the greatest number of alcohol-related fatalities in 2004 with 28 fatalities and the second highest number in 2008 with 17, it did reflect a decrease of 39% in fatalities during that time period. The county with the second highest numbers deaths caused by drunk drivers was Jefferson County. With a total of 89 fatalities during 2004 to 2008 and with 12 in 2004 and 16 in 2008, Jefferson County saw an increase of 33%. Denver County was third with 85 total fatalities with 23 in 2004 and 14 in 2008, which reflects a decrease of 39%. El Paso County was the fourth deadliest county with a total of 81 deaths from 2004 to 2008 caused by an alcohol-impaired driver. With 20 deaths in 2004 and 19 in 2008, there was a decrease of 5% in El Paso County.

While many counties showed a long term decrease in the number of deaths due to alcohol-impaired drivers, when comparing the short term statistics from 2007 to 2008, the top 4 counties all showed an increase from 2007 to 2008. El Paso County had the most fatalities in 2007 with 15 and 19 in 2008. While the long term view for El Paso County showed a decrease, the short term look showed an increase of 27%. Weld County had the second highest fatality rate in 2007 with 14 and 17 in 2008. Again, while Weld County showed a long term decrease of 39%, there was short term increase of 21%. Jefferson County had 12 deaths in 2007 and 16 in 2008. This short term increase of 33% was consistent with the long term increase of 33% seen in 2004 to 2008. Denver County had 12 fatalities in 2007 and 14 in 2008, reflecting a 17% increase despite a long term decrease of 39%.

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities in 2004

County Number of Fatalities Number of Fatalities per 100,000 People Weld 28 12.84 Denver 23 4.11 El Paso 20 3.5 Adams 19 4.90 Pueblo 13 8.75 Jefferson 12 2.29 Boulder 8 2.85 Larimer 7 2.57 Arapahoe 7 1.35 Douglas 5 2.13 Other Counties 55 Total All Counties 197

Source: NHTSA

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities in 2007

County Number of Fatalities Number of Fatalities per 100,000 People El Paso 15 2.56 Weld 14 5.77 Jefferson 12 2.27 Denver 12 2.06 Arapahoe 11 2.02 Adams 10 2.38 Mesa 8 5.76 Pueblo 7 4.53 Garfield 6 11.25 Boulder 6 2.08 Other Counties 65 Total All Counties 166

Source: NHTSA

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities in 2008

County Number of Fatalities Number of Fatalities per 100,000 People El Paso 19 3.19 Weld 17 6.81 Jefferson 16 3.00 Arapahoe 16 2.89 Denver 13 2.34 Garfield 9 16.24 Pueblo 9 5.74 Boulder 9 3.07 Adams 9 2.09 Douglas 7 2.49 Other Counties 49 Total All Counties 174

Source: NHTSA

Percent of Change of Colorado Fatalities Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC=0.08+) by County from 2004 – 2008

percentage of change in Colorado DUI fatalities

Top 17 Counties – Fatalities by % of Increase from 2004 – 2008

County 2004 2008 % of Increase Garfield 1 9 800% Arapahoe 7 16 129% Las Animas 1 2 100% Moffat 1 2 100% Chaffee 1 2 100% Delta 2 3 50% La Plata 2 3 50% Douglas 5 7 40% Jefferson 12 16 33% Mesa 1 3 33% Yuma 0 3 n/a Eagle 0 2 n/a Logan 0 2 n/a Rio Blanco 0 2 n/a Rio Grande 0 2 n/a Pitkin 0 1 n/a Saguache 0 1 n/a San Juan 0 1 n/a

Source: NHTSA

Top 20 Counties – Fatalities by % of Decrease from 2004 – 2008

County 2004 2008 % of Decrease Otero 4 0 100% Park 4 0 100% Grand 3 0 100% Gunnison 3 0 100% Teller 2 0 100% Archuleta 1 0 100% Bent 1 0 100% Conejos 1 0 100% Huerfano 1 0 100% Lake 1 0 100% Montezuma 5 1 80% Summit 5 1 80% Fremont 4 1 75% Adams 19 9 53% Elbert 2 1 50% San Miguel 2 1 50% Weld 28 17 40% Denver 23 14 39% Pueblo 13 9 31% Larimer 7 5 29%

Source: NHTSA

Top 20 Counties – Fatalities by % of Increase from 2007 – 2008

County 2007 2008 % of Increase Costilla 1 3 200% Rio Blanco 1 2 100% Logan 1 2 100% Las Animas 1 2 100% Chaffee 1 2 100% Garfield 6 9 50% Boulder 6 9 50% Arapahoe 11 16 45% Douglas 5 7 40% Jefferson 12 16 33% Pueblo 7 9 29% El Paso 5 19 27% Yuma 0 3 n/a Rio Grande 0 2 n/a Custer 0 1 n/a Saguache 0 1 n/a San Juan 0 1 n/a Kit Carson 0 1 n/a Jackson 0 1 n/a San Miguel 0 1 n/a

Source: NHTSA

Top 20 Counties – Fatalities by % of Decrease from 2007 – 2008

County 2007 2008 % of Decrease Morgan 3 0 100% Washington 3 0 100% Clear Creek 2 0 100% Lake 2 0 100% Baca 1 0 100% Cheyenne 1 0 100% Crowley 1 0 100% Dolores 1 0 100% Grande 1 0 100% Gunnison 1 0 100% Hinsdale 1 0 100% Huerfano 1 0 100% Park 1 0 100% Prowers 1 0 100% Montezuma 3 1 67% Eagle 5 2 60% Mesa 8 4 50% Moffat 4 2 50% Routt 2 1 50% La Plata 5 3 40%

Source: NHTSA

While the less populous counties reflect fewer total fatalities caused by drunk drivers, it should be noted the highest fatality rate per 100,000 people in 2004 was Jackson County with 68.26 deaths per 100,000 people. In 2007 the highest rate was 118.76 fatalities per 100,000 in Hinsdale County, and in 2008 the highest rate was in San Juan County with 181.16 alcohol-impaired driver related deaths per 100,000 people. It should be noted that 3 counties had multiple showings in the years noted of 2004, 2007 and 2008: Jackson County in 2004 and 2008, Lake County in 2004 and 2007 and Moffat County in 2007 and 2008.

Colorado Fatalities Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC=0.08+) by 100,000 People from 2004 – 2008

Fatalies in Colorado by population

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities per 100,000 People in 2004

County Fatalities per 100,000 People Fatalities Jackson 68.26 1 San Miguel 28.05 2 Park 24.36 4 Grand 22.75 3 Gunnison 20.95 3 Otero 20.60 4 Montezuma 20.45 5 Summit 19.84 5 Bent 16.10 1 Lake 13.07 1

Source: NHTSA

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities per 100,000 People in 2007

County Fatalities per 100,000 People Fatalities Hinsdale 118.76 1 Washington 65.16 3 Cheyenne 56.95 1 Dolores 52.41 1 Costilla 30.38 1 Moffat 29.39 4 Baca 25.88 1 Lake 25.51 2 Clear Creek 22.39 2 Rio Blanco 16.08 1

Source: NHTSA

Top 10 Counties – Most Fatalities per 100,000 People in 2008

County Fatalities per 100,000 People Fatalities San Juan 181.16 1 Costilla 92.82 3 Jackson 74.29 1 Rio Blanco 31.55 2 Yuma 31.03 3 Custer 25.01 1 Rio Grande 17.22 2 Garfield 16.24 9 Moffat 14.45 2 Saguache 14.17 1

Colorado MADD Chapters

Colorado Chapter
444 Lincoln Street
Denver CO, 80203
Phone: 3034255902
Web: http://www.madd.org/co
Email: co.state@madd.org
Colorado Springs
2220 E Bijou, Suite 154
Colorado Springs CO, 80909
Phone: 7193808673

Sources:

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