Crash fatalities involving teens on the rise in Colorado

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 1:21 PM MDT
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Traffic fatalities in Colorado involving teens are on the rise again after a two-decade low.

CDOT says the overall number of young drivers killed in crashes fell by 50 percent starting in the late 90s. Beginning in 2017, the numbers are starting to creep back up.

To compare: between 2005-2016, an average of 64 drivers 20 and younger were killed in crashes each year.

2017 and 2018 are averaging 86 year, a 34 percent increase.

CDOT is kicking off a new campaign in an attempt to curb this troubling new trend.

"Because teen drivers’ inexperience makes them among the most dangerous drivers on the road, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is launching a safety campaign to encourage them to drive more safely and grow their awareness of Colorado’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law. This year is the 20th anniversary of the passage of the GDL law," CDOT said in a statement Thursday.

The GDL:

- Forbids cell phones until the driver turns 18

- Forbids passengers under 21 for the first six months the driver has their license, and only one passenger allowed after for the next six months.

- Failure to wear a seat belt is a primary traffic offense

"When teens receive their driver’s licenses, the first year of driving is the most dangerous,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “But our GDL law has contributed to a near 50 percent reduction in traffic fatalities involving young drivers over the last 20 years, which is very good news. We must continue to educate teens about GDL and enforce the law if we want to continue to see such positive results.”

CDOT said they would be using humorous videos, targeted to teens between 15-18, "where they spend a lot of their time -- on social media -- including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook."

The videos will run on social media until Sept. 6.