CDOT: Deadly crashes on the rise despite reduced traffic from pandemic

(Photo: KKTV)
(Photo: KKTV)(KKTV)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 10:06 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - More people are dying on our roads, despite reduced traffic from the pandemic. Colorado’s Department of Transportation says deadly crashes are up 20 percent in southeast Colorado. The agency says the trend is surprising and concerning.

“We’re seeing some very dangerous and concerning driver behavior,” said Michelle Peulen, a spokesperson for CDOT.

CDOT says El Paso County is leading the way. According to their data, we’ve had 58 fatalities in El Paso County so far in 2020, and in the same time period in 2019, there were 46. What’s even more concerning to CDOT, during the height of the pandemic in Colorado from March 14 through May 28, the agency saw distracted driving fatalities increase 150 percent.

“We were very surprised to see that," said Peulen. "We think that people assumed they were alone on the road and since there wasn’t as much traffic they could look at their phones or do other things while they were driving, and that’s simply not the case.”

The state’s department of transportation says speed and distraction have caused many of the crashes that killed drivers and passengers. They are also seeing an increase in motorcycle crashes, as well as people not wearing seat belts.

CDOT says statewide, the number of deadly crashes have slightly declined, while the numbers trend up in the southeast region.

“El Paso County definitely leads the way,” said Peulen. “Unfortunately we’re seeing some very dangerous and concerning driver behavior."

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