This is the first of a five-part series about motor vehicle safety at intersections. Colorado's roads continue to be dangerous. In Denver, the volume of fatal traffic accidents has risen every year since 2005. In Colorado in 2015, there were 546 deaths, and these numbers rose to 605 and 630 in 2016 and 2017. This increase is occurring at a time when traffic safety awareness is higher than ever, seat belt use is higher than ever, and vehicles have more standard safety features than ever.
Many of these accidents happen at intersections. In Colorado, fatalities at intersections continue to escalate from 112 in 2012, then 127 in 2014, and 200 in 2016.
The Mile High City has experienced tremendous growth leading to more traffic. Almost 25% of streets do not have sidewalks and public transportation tends to operate slowly. Intersections pose a potential danger because they are locations where many motorists encounter one another.
Top Ten Most Dangerous Intersections
Data provided by the Denver Police Department spanning January 15 to October 15, 2017, identifies ten most dangerous intersections.
- West 8th Street & Speer Boulevard: 37 accidents
- West Alameda Avenue & South Federal Boulevard: 31 accidents
- West 6th Avenue & North Kalamath Street: 29 accidents
- West Mississippi Avenue & South Federal Boulevard: 30 accidents
- West Alameda Avenue & South Santa Fe Drive: 29 accidents
- West Colfax Avenue & North Kalamath Street: 29 accidents
- West Florida Avenue & South Federal Boulevard: 27 accidents
- 8400 block of Pena Boulevard: 25 accidents
- North Lincoln Street & East Speer Boulevard: 25 accidents
- North Peoria Street & East Albrook Drive: 23 accidents
Top Five Most Dangerous Highway Intersections
In addition to dangerous intersections generally, there are many dangerous highway intersections. Data taken January 1 to March 5, 2017, identify the top five most dangerous highway intersections.
- Interstate 25 at 6th Avenue: 60 accidents
- Interstate 70 at Interstate 25: 35 accidents
- Interstate 25 at 20th Street: 30 accidents
- Interstate 70 at Northfield/Quebec: 30 accidents
- Interstate 70 at Havana Street: 29 accidents
Failing to Yield, Stop, or Signal
Intersections in Colorado are likely to have a yield sign, stop sign, or light signal. Drivers who fail to acknowledge these signs or signals are commonly involved in “broadside” or “T-bone” types of collisions. Among bicycle crashes, failing to yield is the leading cause of these crashes. Drivers rely on other motorists to use their signals, like turn indicators, to communicate their intentions.
Traffic Impact on Intersection Safety
There is a correlation between traffic volume and the potential for accidents. The U.S. leads all countries in the amount of traffic congestion while Los Angeles is the leading city with drivers losing 102 hours of time each year. The greater Denver area ranks 21st overall for time spent dealing with traffic problems; however, with the expected increases in population in the coming years, it may worsen.
In our society, the ability to multi-task is encouraged, but this is not a recommended practice for drivers. Distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives in 2015. Too frequently, drivers are responding to text messages, eating, grooming themselves, and more.
Alcohol is still a major problem for roadway safety, contributing to 22% of traffic fatalities. Between the years of 2006 and 2014, traffic fatalities that involved someone who tested positive for marijuana usage rose by 150% in Colorado. More than half of those charged with a marijuana-based DUI had alcohol or another drug also in their system.
Intersections are locations that tend to be the scene of accidents. Whether it is caused by failures to abide by traffic signs or signals, operating under the influence, or distracted driving, the volume of accidents continues to rise. If another driver has demonstrated negligence and made you or a loved one an injury victim, it is important to promptly consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.