Fatalities on Colorado roadways up 11 percent in past 2 years

DENVER -- There have been 616 deaths on Colorado roadways this year.

The number of fatalities is higher than last year despite ongoing efforts by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and other agencies across the state to combat impaired and distracted driving.

On Christmas night in Aurora, three people were killed in a head-on crash on Interstate 70 that involved a wrong-way driver.

The number of fatalities is up 11 percent over the past two years. The deaths have happened in every part of the state, but the majority of them have taken place in Adams, Weld and El Paso counties.

"We know fatalities are related to three main things: Speed, seat belt and if they are driving, impaired or not," CDOT spokesman Sam Cole said.

"We do see about a third of the fatalities are related to impaired drivers."

Cole said there has been a 14 percent increase in the number of people killed who were not wearing seat belts.

There has been a 20 percent increase in people who drove impaired who killed themselves or somebody else.

Denver has had the deadliest roads among cities with 44 fatalities.