DENVER (KDVR) — With over two months left in the year, the pedestrian death toll is already close to an all-time high in Colorado, and the Colorado Department of Transportation expects those numbers to keep rising during the winter months.
The pedestrian death toll in Colorado increased by 12% over the last year, CDOT tweeted.
To put that into perspective, by Oct. 17, 2022, there were 85 pedestrian deaths. As of Oct. 17, 2023, there are already 97 deaths, according to CDOT.
In the early 2000s, there were around 40 to 70 pedestrian deaths a year. Throughout the past few years, the deaths have been steadily increasing. The all-time high occurred in 2022 with 115 pedestrian deaths.
CDOT said Colorado is on track for another record-breaking year, especially heading into the winter months.
December is the highest month for pedestrian deaths. From 2019 to 2022, 47 pedestrians have died from car crashes in December alone.
With the sun setting sooner, these next few dark months historically have the most pedestrian deaths in Colorado, according to CDOT. Pedestrians are more likely to get hit when it’s dark out, and with the daylight getting shorter and nighttime getting longer, it leaves more time for pedestrians to be at risk.
More than 66% of deadly pedestrian crashes occurred at night in the first six months of 2023, according to CDOT.
CDOT said these crashes are completely preventable, whether it’s dark or not. It’s all about awareness.
“Put the phone down — sending or reading a short text takes your eyes off the road for almost five seconds,” said CDOT Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager Annelies van Vonno. “At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.”