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Colorado sees increase in auto vs. pedestrian deaths

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Fatal auto versus pedestrian crashes rose across the U.S. in 2020 by 21%, according to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Colorado is also experiencing a rise in pedestrian deaths on roadways.

“In Colorado, last year there were 92 pedestrian fatalities which is up 21 percent from the year before," David Reich with the National Road Safety Foundation said. "The jump in Colorado is above what the national average has been.”

Out of the 920 deaths in El Paso County last year, there were 13 pedestrian deaths. According to the El Paso County Coroner's Office, eight of those were the pedestrian's fault. For the other five, the driver was at fault.

So far this year in El Paso County, there have already been 15 pedestrian deaths. The most recent fatal crash involving a pedestrian happened Tuesday night in Fountain.

Around 7:15 p.m., Fountain police say a driver hit a pedestrian near Medicine Bow Ave. on Fountain Mesa Rd. The pedestrian died at the scene.

Police are still investigating who was at fault.

“Pedestrians can’t be as easily seen especially when walking in an area where there is no sidewalk or roadway and they are walking in an area with not good lighting, it is very easy to blend into the darkness that is surrounding them," he said.

However, drivers aren't always the cause of fatal accidents.

Reich says while pedestrians do have the right of way, investigators found the majority of pedestrians at fault in the fatal crashes within the past year. Investigators say the pedestrian either had intoxicants in their systems or were distracted during the accident, such as looking down at a phone when entering or crossing a roadway.

“One of the big reasons for pedestrian fatalities is distraction and when I say distraction I mean not just motorists," Reich said. "Distraction also for pedestrian and bicycle riders.”

Because of the spike in pedestrian-related vehicle deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated this month, October, as National Pedestrian - Drive Safe Month.

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Cindy Centofanti


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