No Need for Speed — Drivers, Slow Down This Summer!

Speeding was the top factor of fatal crashes in 2023

As motorists rush into summer and hit the road for their warm weather plans, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reminds drivers to watch their speed.

Colorado lost 751 lives to speeding between 2021 and 2023, according to CDOT’s 2023 Core Outcome Report. Speed was a leading factor in traffic deaths in Colorado last year, resulting in 258 fatalities and outnumbering impaired driving (228) and unrestrained passenger (222) fatalities. While it can be tempting to hit the gas to bypass traffic, no one is invincible — speeding can result in a citation and puts you at a much greater risk of a crash.

Crashes peak during summer months as more Coloradans plan road trips and outdoor activities. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, during which Colorado historically sees a spike in fatal crashes. Last July, there were 90 traffic deaths, the most ever recorded in a single month in Colorado.

From 2020 to 2023, there were 418 speeding-related fatalities during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. In 2021, 29% of all Colorado traffic fatalities were related to speeding.

 Graph displaying the number of fatal crashes caused by speeding between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 2020 to 2023

Caption: Data graph of 100 Deadliest Days Speeding Related Fatal Crashes between Labor Day through Memorial Day from 2020 to 2023. Number of fatal crashes: 2020: 101; 2021: 144; 2022: 94; 2023: 79. Data reported as of May 14, 2024. Source: NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System

“Between May and September last year, there were a total of 351 fatal crashes in Colorado,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “With the official start of summer around the corner, it’s important to remember that all drivers have the responsibility to obey the speed limit, drive sober, and focus on the road.”

Drivers tend to overestimate the time saved by speeding. In fact, a motorist moving at 80 mph instead of 75 mph would have to travel 100 miles to save roughly 5 minutes. In addition, speeding and aggressive driving endanger not only the driver but also other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. If you encounter somebody speeding, CDOT shares the following tips to stay safe:

  • Maintain Space: Give other drivers, speeding or not, plenty of space. Drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles when speeding.

  • Do Not Engage: Speeding is often linked to aggressive driving. If a speeding driver is tailgating you or trying to engage in risky behavior, use your judgment to safely steer your vehicle out of the way.

  • Report Dangerous Behavior: If you believe a driver is following or harassing you, or engaging in other risky behavior, dial *CSP (*277) or your local law enforcement to report.

The counties that had the most traffic deaths involving speeding in 2023 were El Paso, Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson. Of these counties, El Paso County has remained in the top five for speeding citations since 2019.

The top five roadways for speeding citations by highest speeding intervals (20+ mph over the posted speed limit) issued by the Colorado State Patrol in 2023 were:

  • I-70

  • I-25

  • Highway 50

  • Highway 24

  • Highway 285

“The temptation to speed is real, and law enforcement officers aren’t oblivious to that,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Almost everyone is guilty of speeding at one time or another, but that doesn’t make it OK. Speeding is aggressive driving. When crashes happen, and speed is involved, your chance of a serious injury increases dramatically.”

Paired with other dangerous driving behaviors, speeding increases the chance of a crash. In 2021, 43% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities in Colorado also involved alcohol impairment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. CDOT continues to support local law enforcement agencies for The Heat Is On DUI enforcement periods, during which drivers may see saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and additional law enforcement officers on duty dedicated to arresting impaired drivers.

Colorado State Patrol troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations, impaired driving, and speeding, while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign celebrates positive driving behaviors and encourages all of us to drive like a trooper is riding with you.

About CDOT

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s mission is to provide the best multi-modal transportation system that most effectively and safely moves people, goods and information. CDOT maintains more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,400 bridges and 35 mountain passes. Our team of employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. CDOT leverages partnerships with a range of private and public organizations and operates Bustang, an interregional express bus service. Find more details at

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