Safety precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 mean that many of us are working from home these days. As a result, traffic during rush hour and throughout the day is down significantly. It would make sense that there would be fewer serious car accidents too, right?

Wrong. In at least one part of Colorado, fatal car accidents are up by 26 percent compared with 2019.

Colorado’s deadliest county for car crashes in 2020

Specifically, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says that the southeastern region has had more deadly auto accidents in 2020 so far compared to last year. Worst of all is El Paso County, where there have been 58 traffic fatalities as of Sept. 14. Last year by that date, 46 people had died in accidents.

What’s causing this troubling trend? CDOT blames driver negligence, specifically speeders and distracted drivers. Their statistics show that at the beginning of the pandemic, from Mar. 14 to May 28, deaths caused by distracted driving shot up by around 150 percent. Also, due to the open roads caused by the pandemic, many drivers have given into the temptation to speed. Increases in these dangerous behaviors could both cause more fatal accidents than usual.

Statewide, the news is better

The good news is that, statewide, the number of traffic fatalities is actually down a little from 2019. Still, the risk of getting into a crash with a speeder or distracted driver is still very real here in Denver. A few seconds of inattention or recklessness from another driver could cost you your health, independence and ability to enjoy life.

Colorado’s COVID-19 response is meant to keep us as healthy and safe as possible during a difficult time. They are not an excuse to ignore traffic laws and harm innocent people.

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