Study: Colorado Counties with the Highest Drinking and Driving Fatalities

  • July 31, 2019 | Read Time: 4 Minutes
Colorado Counties with the Highest Drinking and Driving Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving kills approximately 10,000 people every year. In Colorado alone, over 900 people have been killed in alcohol-related accidents in the past six years.

But where in the state are you most likely to be involved in an alcohol-related accident? We examined crash report data from 2013-2019 for the 15 Colorado counties with more than 50,000 residents and ranked them based on the incidence of an alcohol-related accident per 100,000 people.

Ranked: The Colorado Counties with the Highest Rate of Alcohol-Related Accidents


#16: Arapahoe

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 0.44

Arapahoe County, with a population of around 643,000, has the lowest rate of alcohol-related fatalities. In 2019 so far, 17 people have been killed between 15 alcohol-related fatal accidents.

#15: Adams

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 0.55

Adams County, with a population of roughly 511,000, had the second lowest rate. In 2019, Adams County has had 17 fatal accidents involving alcohol, killing 18 people.

#14: Denver

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 0.97

Even with a population of over 700,000, Denver County has a relatively low rate of alcohol-related fatal accidents. Across 37 total accidents in 2019, 41 people were killed.

#13: Boulder

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 1.24

Boulder County has a population of around 322,000. In 2019, the county has so far experienced 20 alcohol-related accidents killing 24 people.

#12: Broomfield

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 1.71

Broomfield has a much smaller population than the counties in spots #12 through #15, coming in at just over 68,000. This year, 7 people have been killed in 7 fatal accidents involving alcohol.

#11: Jefferson

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 1.74

Jefferson County has a population of just under 575,000. In 2019, there have been 58 reported accidents involving alcohol that have killed a total of 60 people.

#10: Douglas

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 1.79

Douglas County is similar in size to Boulder, with a population of around 335,000. This county, however, has experienced nearly 50% more fatal alcohol-related crashes with 33 so far in 2019 that have killed 36 people.

#9: El Paso

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 2.43

Despite having a population size very close to Denver with 699,000 residents, El Paso County has had nearly twice as many fatal accidents involving alcohol with 87. Over 100 people have been killed in these accidents.

#8: Larimer

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 5.77

With a population of about 344,000, Larimer County has over 4.5 times as many fatal accidents as Boulder, even though they have similar populations. Larimer County has had 101 fatal accidents because of alcohol, killing 119 people.

#7: Weld

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 6.02

Weld County, with a population of around 304,000, has similar accident rates to Larimer County. In Weld County in 2019, there have been 102 fatal crashes that have killed 110 people.

#6: Garfield

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 8.46

Despite having a population of only 59,000, fatal alcohol-related accidents in Garfield County occur more than 8 times as often as in Denver, a city 11 times its size. This year there have been 28 reported accidents killing a total of 30 people.

#5: Mesa

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 9.45

Mesa County has a population of approximately 151,000 but experiences a high rate of fatal alcohol-related crashes. So far, there have been 80 such crashes killing 86 people.

#4: Washington

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 13.85

Washington County is the fourth on the list with a population of almost 5,000. This is the smallest county size in the list and the small amount of people contributes to a relatively high fatal crash rate per 100k.

#3: Pueblo

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 15.42

Coming in at #3 is Pueblo County, which has a population of just over 166,000. Compared to Mesa County, which has a similar population, Pueblo is almost twice as dangerous in every way. There have been 140 reported alcohol-related fatal accidents in 2019, killing 154 people.

#2: Eagle

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 16.75

Eagle County only has a population of about 55,000 but comes in at #2 on this list. Eagle County experiences nearly 17 times more fatal alcohol-related crashes than Denver, a county almost 13 times larger. Fifty-five people have been killed in 51 accidents in 2019.

#1: La Plata

Alcohol-Related Crash Fatalities Per 100k: 30.28

At #1, the most dangerous county for alcohol-related crash fatalities in Colorado is La Plata, which has a population of around 55,500. Even in its relatively small population, this county has experienced 97 alcohol-related accidents that have killed 101 people.

Ranked: The Colorado Counties with the Highest Rate of Alcohol-Related Accidents


Ranked: The Colorado Counties with the Highest Rate of Alcohol-Related Accidents


Other Notable Statistics

  • From 2017 to 2018, the number of people killed in alcohol-related accidents in Denver increased by 31%
  • Over a six-year period, there have been 877 alcohol-related fatal accidents killing a total of 964 people
  • There are about 146 alcohol-related fatal accidents in Colorado 15 biggest counties each year

Methodology

  • We gathered crash data from 2013 to 2018 about the number of alcohol-related accidents resulting in a fatality in each county
  • Using data from the World Population Review and the U.S. Census, we narrowed down the study to include only the Colorado counties with a population of at least 50,000 (there are 15 total)
  • To determine the average number of alcohol-related accident fatalities per county per 100,000 people, we used the following formula:

Avg. number of people killed in an alcohol-related accidents ÷ (total county population ÷ 100,000) = crash fatalities per county per 100,000 people