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Close calls on the road: What’s been your experience driving in Colorado? | Your Opinion

Posted: 11:33 AM, Jan 26, 2023
Updated: 2023-01-31 18:43:56-05

DENVER – There’s been a dramatic rise in traffic deaths across the state, with 745 fatalities reported in Colorado in 2022.

Colorado drivers seem to agree there’s a problem, as fatalities on the roads have risen 57% over the past 10 years.

IN-DEPTH: What’s behind the rise in Colorado traffic deaths?

But the recent headlines of hit-and-runs in Colorado, at least seven in the last month – with four of those just in Denver alone – have us wondering what’s leading to so much traffic-related incidents.

So we want to hear from you. When was the last time you had a close call on the road here in Colorado? How did it happen and what did you do?

  • How much do you think lack of enforcement plays into these close calls, versus distracted driving overall?
  • What needs to change to make roads safer not just for other drivers, but for bicyclists and pedestrians as well?
  • How has a close call changed your habits on the road?

We invite you to share Your Opinion with the Denver7 360 team and we’ll compile your answers together to share with our audience and readers to help us consider different perspectives to the issues we face. Scroll down to share your story in the form.

What you're saying

'Police agencies in multiple jurisdictions just don't care to enforce the traffic laws anymore'

I believe that there are many facets to this increase.

One is the lack of respect and concern for other motorists which helps to contribute to an increase in excessive speeding as well as running red lights and stop signs. I have witnessed people driving 60, 70 mph on surface streets where the speed limit is 30 or 40 mph.

People also seem to be unaware that many one-way streets (i.e. 13th and 14th in downtown Denver, Cap Hill and into Aurora) have traffic signals that are synched so that if you are stopped at one light and then proceed at the speed limit when the light turns green, you can hit every light as it turns green thus reducing your stops and starts. People just want to speed from one red light to another.

Another factor is the increase in distracted driving. I see multiple people with phones in their hands at every traffic light and multiple people with their phones in their hands and their faces glued to the screens while their vehicles are in motion.

Then there is the lack of enforcement. Police agencies in multiple jurisdictions just don't care to enforce the traffic laws anymore. Building on that lack of enforcement issue, is the way street racers are almost given full permission to engage in their bad behavior. There is a lack of enforcement to address the sky rocketing number of LONG expired temporary license plates, regular license plates, and vehicles with no plates at all by law enforcement.

Additionally, I think that the portion of the towing bill of rights which prohibits towing companies from towing cars with expired plates needs to be rescinded. I believe that the lack of enforcement to address LONG expired plates and the way that law enforcement and towing companies have been effectively neutered and prevented from removing those vehicles has contributed to a large increase in uninsured drivers on the roads which exacerbates the occurrences of hit and runs and the other dangers on the roads for other motorists. Large numbers of uninsured motorists hit everyone else's wallets when an accident occurs and also in the high costs of auto insurance premiums that we all have to pay as a result.
Lee Hauser

'It seems that obeying traffic laws is agains the law'

In your article regarding the increase in traffic deaths in Colorado - I see the biggest problem in the complete lack of traffic enforcement.

Due to injuries, I have to drive my wife to and from work. From Union to Kalamath, if you are doing the posted speed limit, you are the slowest driver on the road. This holds true on every road I drive on. It seems that obeying traffic laws is against the law. Speeds of 75 mph plus are common on Hwy 6th. High speeds are also common on Kipling and Wadsworth. Number one cause of accidents according to all data is - high speeds.

There is no enforcement of expired license plates, which also means the owner does not have auto insurance because the auto is not legally registered. I cannot drive anywhere around Lakewood and not see five or more autos with expired plates. Colorado is losing millions of taxes and fees that could go towards traffic enforcement.
Richard Bormann

'Everyone seems to feel entitled to be as aggressive as possible'

Distracted drivers are the worst. I've seen people on I-25 or Hwy 36 driving at or above the speed limit while on their phones and just this weekend saw a woman applying makeup. Add to that everyone seems to feel entitled to be as aggressive as possible. No wonder there are so many wrecks especially when the weather is bad.
Vicki A. Nave

'I bicycle most places and have to be super defensive'

Close calls on the road? Every time I go out! People go way over the speed limit with absolute impunity, run red lights, roll through stop signs. I bicycle most places and have to be hyper defensive at all times. Better connectivity for cyclists and peds, more protected bike lanes, treatments at intersections that slow traffic, narrower lanes to slow traffic, speed humps all would help. I’ve lived in Denver for 70 years and would like to see these changes in my lifetime!
Sarah McGregor

'Why doesn't the State impose a severe fine and punishment for these offenders?'

Running red lights seems to be the norm nowadays.

At least eight out of ten times as I am sitting at a red light waiting for my green light, I observe from one to four cars speeding through the red light many seconds after my light turns green. As I see on the news almost daily, someone is killed or seriously injured by some one running a red light.

Why doesn't the State impose a severe fine and punishment for these offenders? Say $1,000.00 for the first offensee, $5,000.00 for the second and $10,000.00 for the third and take their license away.

This would surely get the attention of the red light offenders and certainly help decrease serious injuries and deaths. Would also increase revenue for the state. How much is a life worth?
Richard Pierson

'Three or four most recent incidents of road rage were sparked by an unaware driver'

I have seen and had my own close calls recently.

Speeding is certainly an issue but a few other things are causing problems. Others have mentioned drivers on their phones, which is very real and just insane that a driver thinks that is ok. Put your phones down people, nothing is that important that it can't wait until you are no longer driving.

Another reason for close calls is very few people use their signal lights to let other drivers know what they are doing. I was attempting to pass someone on I-25 recently and they just began to meander into the lane I was coming upon them on from behind, causing me to have to stop rapidly, but luckily no impact. Signal lights are to signal to others your intention, yes, we know you know your intention but the people around you don't.

Finally, the more I see people parking themselves in the left or PASSING lane the more I see enraged drivers. The left lane is to pass others and get out of, not a comfy spot to stay put. The three or four most recent incidents of road rage were sparked by an unaware driver not following the rules of the road on the left/passing lane.
Rusty Ardoin

'Going 20 MPH over the speed limit is now the norm'

Colorado roads have become dangerous. Going 20 MPH over the speed limit is now the norm. Doing the speed limit has cars tailgating you. Police are invisible. We need more law enforcement on the ro
Connie Spiegel

'People know they can drive however they want'

Several close calls lately are all directly related to lack of enforcement. People are driving much faster than speed limits, too fast for road conditions and are swerving in & out of lanes, cutting in front of cars way too close. Drivers don't seem to have any sense of safety, driving very carelessly and much of it is because there are never any police on the roads enforcing traffic laws. So people know they can drive however they want.
Juli Fahy

'We see folks running the stop sign by our house and speeding constantly'

In the last year, I have had 3 near collisions, one while crossing intersection on a bicycle. Each time, it was due to the driver running the stop light. I fare no better as a pedestrian. We see folks running the stop sign by our house and speeding constantly. We believe in stiff penalties and jail time for such a driver, who is usually aggressive, especially when they cause injury or death. We believe it should be illegal to talk on the phone when driving. We believe kids should be taught compassion and respect for others in school. Many adults no longer have those characteristics.
Chiles Freidman

'Are we in this big a hurry today?'

The worst close calls I see are caused by speeding lane jumpers cutting people off. This, followed by yellow signal sprinting and red light running tops my list. Lately I've noticed more people running red turn arrows. Really? Are we in this big a hurry today?

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