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What Are the Top Causes of Car Accidents in Colorado?

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in Colorado and throughout the country. Preliminary data for 2022 from the Colorado Department of Transportation reports 95,288 car accidents and 699 deaths. This was the highest number of fatalities in the last 20 years. Identifying the most common causes of car accidents can help drivers identify crash risks and prevent harmful collisions.

Driver Negligence

The legal definition of negligence is to act below the required level or standard of care for a situation. All motor vehicle drivers have a duty to operate and control their vehicles with a reasonable degree of care. Any act or omission that breaches this duty of care constitutes negligence.

Common examples of driver error include:

  • Driver inattention
  • Texting while driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Road rage
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Red-light running

Driver error is the number one cause of car accidents in Fort Collins. If every driver took their duties seriously, paid attention to the road and obeyed traffic laws, thousands of fatal car accidents would be prevented each year.

Distracted Driving

What has been described as an “epidemic of distracted driving” has played a major role in the growing number of car accident deaths in Colorado. Distracted driving refers to operating a motor vehicle with less than 100 percent of the driver’s attention focused on the driving task. Even a minor distraction can be enough to delay a driver’s reaction times and cause a car accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving took 3,522 lives in 2021. The most common type of accident caused by distracted driving is a rear-end collision. In 2022, “front to rear” was the first harmful event in the highest number of vehicle collisions in Colorado. Avoiding cell phone use and paying attention to the road could prevent thousands of car accidents annually.


Speeding or “driving too fast for conditions” (which may be below the speed limit in dangerous environments) puts a driver at risk of losing control of his or her vehicle. A speeding driver may not be able to hit the brakes in time to avoid colliding with another driver, bicyclist or pedestrian. An obstacle or hazard could lead to the speeding car careening off the road. In addition, collisions that do occur when one or both drivers are speeding are generally more severe, as the crash takes place at the combined speeds of both vehicles.

Driving While Impaired

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription medications, can interfere with a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Colorado law prohibits driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher. It is also against the law to drive with more than 5 nanograms of active THC in the driver’s blood. Driving while drowsy or fatigued is comparable to drunk driving in terms of interfering with a driver’s abilities and increasing crash risk.

Injured in a Colorado Car Accident? We Can Help

If you suffer an injury in a car accident in Colorado, contact the lawyers at Cannon Law to request a free case consultation with an experienced attorney. We can help you determine the cause of your crash and identify the responsible party or parties. Then, we can file a claim on your behalf and negotiate with an insurance company to pursue maximum financial compensation for your losses. Call us at (970) 471-7170 today.