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These are I-70’s Top Spots for Speed-Related Crashes

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Many Coloradans and visitors know I-70 as the roadway that offers access to the heart of the Rocky Mountains and some of the most beautiful sights that the state has to offer. Unfortunately, the interstate also often proves treacherous to traffic.

Two spots along I-70 are particularly dangerous when combined with speeding drivers, according to Colorado State Patrol: Vail Pass (mile marker 182-193) and the Eisenhower Tunnel (mile marker 207-216). These stretches of road “showed a significant concentration of crashes” across I-70 over the last three years, according to data reviewed by CSP.

I-70 can be tricky to navigate, both for professional truck and other drivers with commercial licenses and everyday motorists. That is especially true during the winter months, when ice, snow and poor visibility make conditions even more difficult to navigate.

However, CSP is focusing in particular on the danger posed by speeding drivers.

“These crashes included all vehicle types, where the driver was unable to drive safely and successfully navigate at their rate of speed,” Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in a statement highlighting the most dangerous spots on I-70. “Treat the extreme slopes of the Rockies with respect in all kinds of weather and never underestimate the increase of risk when blizzards, heavy rains or low visibility occurs.”

Mountain roads throughout Colorado are vulnerable to extreme weather and conditions like flooding, mudslides, and rockslides. The twists and curves of I-70 as it follows the Rockies make the interstate even more challenging during weather events. The limited space along the road’s bridges and viaducts can delay crash responses and clean-ups.

The harrowing tale of a man whose pickup truck plunged some 350 feet off the road near Eisenhower Tunnel is a stark example of the risks.

The 70-year old man was driving a Ford F-150 when he reportedly lost control of the truck, crossed traffic lanes, smashed into a guardrail and rolled over it. He was trapped in his vehicle for hours before being saved by rescuers on snowmobiles, according to news reports.

The accident happened near mile marker 211, west of the tunnel. 

Months earlier, the interstate was closed for hours from mile markers 205 to 218 following two separate crashes involving three vehicles. Much of the same stretch was also closed after a tragic crash in October 2022 that involved two trucks and left one man dead. 

Vail Pass has also seen a number of serious accidents. Late last year, for instance, a pair of 19-year-old Denver residents were sent to the hospital with significant injuries following a single-car crash at mile marker 185.

Speeding Puts Lives at Risk

There are a number of steps that drivers can take to reduce the risk of accidents on I-70. Maintaining proper speeds is at the top of the list.

“This unique interstate is both beautiful and precarious,” Packard said of the interstate. “Drivers should pay attention to their speed for various reasons on this roadway, including steep grades, narrow turns and sudden weather changes.”

Speed is the leading cause of accidents in winter crashes statewide, CSP says. It is also among the top factors in serious and fatal crashes year round.

The good news for Coloradans and anyone using the state’s roads is that total traffic fatalities have been on the decline across the state. The bad news is that deaths from speeding accidents are rising. 

Approximately 240 people are killed annually in speeding-related motor vehicle collisions statewide, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Speed is a factor in at least 40% of traffic accident fatalities. 

Across ages, men drivers are overwhelmingly behind the wheel in speed-related collisions that result in death, according to CDOT.

Injured in a Car Accident? Know Your Rights

Anyone who is injured in a car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation for his or her injuries. That is true whether the crash was caused by a speeding driver or a combination of other factors.

The compensation typically available in Colorado car, truck, motorcycle and other accidents includes money for medical bills, vehicle and other property damage. Money damages are also available for missed wages during recuperation and any impact of the injuries on a person’s long-term earning capacity.

To get compensation, an injured person generally needs to be able to identify who is responsible for the accident and prove legal liability. Drivers and their insurers are often liable, but crashes can raise complicated questions about who is to blame for the collision. 

Colorado drivers owe a “duty of care” to everyone else on the road to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means maintaining safe speeds and complying with traffic laws. It also means steering clear of dangerous behavior like drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel. A driver who does not live up to this responsibility is likely to be found negligent and liable for any injuries caused as a result.

What is reasonable often changes in harsh weather conditions. Drivers are expected to slow down and take other precautions when prudent.

In the tragic event that a person dies in an accident, his or her loved ones can also seek compensation for wrongful death.

Colorado state law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death. 

To be clear, the monetary damages available in wrongful death cases will not allow you to go back in time and stop the accident from happening. It will not bring back your loved one. Compensation can, however, ease some of the financial burden that often comes with these tragic accidents.

Speak with a Denver Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident in Colorado, a Denver accident attorney at Levine Law can help you understand your legal rights and options. 

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver accident attorney.