Results from a study showed that from 2018 to 2020, the city of Greeley had 25 fatal collisions resulting in 26 deaths.
A company called MoneyGeek analyzed 1,706 fatal accidents in Colorado that occurred between 2018 and 2020. Greeley is the nation’s No. 8 city for fatal accidents. However, Greeley ranks #1 for fatal accidents in Weld County.
Compared to Greeley, Weld County had 146 fatal accidents and ranks fourth in the state for fatal accidents – behind El Paso, Denver and Adams.
Beyond 2020, data from the Colorado Department of Transportation shows that Weld County has experienced 36 fatal accidents with 45 fatalities so far in 2022, approaching last year’s figure of 39 fatal accidents with 46 fatalities.
According to the CDOT, Greeley had two fatal accidents in 2021 and five in 2022.
MoneyGeek found that Weld’s deadliest road is US 85 with 23 accidents, six of which happened in Greeley jurisdiction. Other deadly stretches in Greeley include US 34, Weld County Road 31 and 35th Avenue between Evans and Greeley.
The study looked at whether collisions were related to drunk driving, distracted driving, winter driving or speeding. In Greeley between 2018 and 2020, eleven of the fatal accidents were due to speeding, nine to drunk driving, one to distracted driving and zero to winter weather.
Compared to the state average of 34% for fatal accidents related to drunk driving in 2020, the study found that 36% of fatal accidents in Greeley were due to drunk driving.
The state average of fatal accidents related to drunk driving has since risen to 35.59% in 2022, according to CDOT data.
For Weld, the study found that among the county’s 146 fatal accidents, there were 45 intoxication-related accidents, 12 distracted-driving accidents, and 44 speeding-related accidents. So far, CDOT has reported that the county experienced nine fatal disability-related accidents in 2022.
Of the fatal accidents in Weld, data showed 17 alcohol-impaired drivers died in 2018, nine in 2019 and 20 in 2020, the CDOT pointed out. The number of drunk driving-related deaths in Weld compares highly to other counties between 2018 and 2020, with 20 alcohol-impaired deaths in Boulder County and 27 in Larimer County.
“As the numbers in the study show, we can’t control what individual drivers do when they get behind the wheel,” said Regional Transportation Director Heather Paddock. “There are laws that try to protect people, but when they make the decision to break the law, it really comes down to personal responsibility. Nationwide, we are working together to educate people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, speeding, distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt.”
Seat belt usage rate
Another factor considered in fatal accident data is whether the people involved in the vehicles are wearing or not wearing seat belts. According to CDOT, the state average seat belt usage rate in 2022 is 87%.
The department reported that Weld has the fourth-worst seatbelt usage rate in Colorado with an 80% seatbelt usage rate. In 2018, 26 of Weld’s deaths involved unbelted inmates, 22 in 2019 and 22 in 2020.
“The number one priority for the Colorado Department of Transportation is safety,” Paddock said. “This affects every aspect of our work…from designing and building our infrastructure, to awareness campaigns and messaging, to coordinating with our incident management teams on unforeseen enforcement and policy events.”