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CDOT: These are the Leading Human Factors in Colorado Auto Accidents

Driver error is the leading cause of auto accidents. Every year, millions of people in the United States are injured in collisions caused by driver error; and, in Colorado alone, more than 60,000 drivers and passengers are injured as a result of driving mistakes on an annual basis. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) keeps track of the driver-related factors involved in vehicle collisions, and its report, 2005—2015 Colorado Crashes by Human Contributing Factor, identifies the 14 leading driver-related causes of accidents statewide. The report highlights some alarming trends as well, and it sheds light on some of the greatest risks that local drivers face on a daily basis.

14 Leading Driver-Related Causes of Auto Accidents in Colorado

1. Distracted Driving, Non-Cell Phone, Radio or Passenger

Looking at the data, “Distracted: Other” has been the leading driver-related cause of auto accidents in Colorado each year since 2010. The “Other” designation refers to the exclusion of cell phone, radio and passenger distractions, which the report identifies separately. In 2015, nearly one in 10 auto accidents in Colorado was the result of distracted driving.

2. Driver Inexperience

CDOT’s data indicate that driver inexperience is the second-leading driver-related cause of auto accidents. 2015 saw the most accidents in this category of any year since 2005.

3. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is to blame for thousands of accidents in Colorado every year. Aggressive driving accidents increased substantially in 2015, up to 6,493 from 5,695 in 2014.


Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), driving while alcohol-impaired (DWAI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) accounted for nearly 20 accidents per day in 2015.

5. Driver Unfamiliar with Area

According to CDOT, lack of familiarity with local roads is the fifth-leading human contributing factor in vehicle collisions.

6. Distracted: Cell Phone

Drivers who were talking, texting, using social media, sending emails, watching videos and taking selfies caused 1,753 accidents in 2015. This is more than triple the number of cell phone accidents in Colorado a decade ago.

7. Asleep at the Wheel

Alarmingly, more than 1,000 accidents in Colorado each year are attributable to a driver falling asleep behind the wheel. Even more alarmingly, the number of these accidents has been steadily increasing since 2009.

8. Distracted: Passenger

While not often thought of as a form of distraction, talking with passengers and horseplay account for more than 1,200 accidents in Colorado each year.

9. Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is the eight-leading driver-related cause of auto accidents in Colorado according to CDOT. The number of accidents attributable to driver fatigue has increased substantially in recent years.

10. Illness/Medical

According to CDOT, illnesses and medical conditions cause more than 900 drivers to lose control of their vehicles each year. This figure has remained relatively steady since 2008.

11. Distracted: Radio

Changing the station, setting playlists and other interactions with the radio caused 585 accidents in 2015.

12. Driver Emotionally Upset

Following a spike in 2005 and 2006, the number of accidents resulting from a driver’s emotional condition has averaged slightly less than one per day since 2007.

13. Evading Law Enforcement Officer

Drivers attempting to evade law enforcement caused 282 accidents in 2015. This was slightly higher than the previous year (176 in 2014) but much lower than the high of 441 in 2005.

14. Physical Disability

Finally, CDOT’s data indicate that drivers’ physical disabilities caused approximately one accident every other day in 2015. This is half of the rate in 2005 when there were 374 disability-related accidents.

Do You Need a Denver Accident Attorney?

If you were injured in an accident that was the result of driver error, our attorneys can help you seek just compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other losses. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, call us 24/7 at  303-333-8000 or inquire online today.

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