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As Colorado residents and our families and friends get set to travel for Thanksgiving weekend, a sobering reality faces travelers.  Colorado is on pace this year for a distinction it does not want: traffic fatalities.

To date, Colorado has lost over 590 lives in crashes across Colorado this year, and we are heading into the busy holiday season as well as winter weather. This puts the state on pace to experience the worst year for crash fatalities since the early 2000s.

The Colorado State Patrol are members of the American Association of State Troopers. Courtesy image.

The days surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas are known to be some of the heaviest of the year for road travel and history shows that the fatality statistics are going to rise. The Colorado State Patrol is planning saturation patrols and enforcement focus in an attempt to hold down fatalities; efforts that will remain in place through at least the end of the calendar year.

In a Tuesday press conference at the Colorado State Patrol Academy in Golden, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials outlined the alarming upward trend of fatal crashes across Colorado in 2021.

After analyzing the 2021 fatal crash data, ” the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has already begun to saturate three of the highest areas in the state for fatal crashes with high visibility enforcement patrols in these targeted areas in an effort to curb this alarming trend”, explained Colorado State Patrol Col. and Chief of the Colorado State Patrol Matthew C. Packard, during a press conference on Monday.

In addition, Packard announced that the department is staffing troopers overtime shifts for DUI enforcement across the state while also lowering their tolerance for drivers committing lane violations, which are contributing to the accident statistics.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme, addressing the alarming upward trend of fatal crashes across Colorado in 2021, confirmed a new collaborative partnership between CDOT and the Patrol which will develop new ways it is addressing the rise in fatalities.

Since its origin in 1935, the CSP has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within Colorado communities.  Its 1,100 members live primarily in the communities they serve. In addition to expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.