A sharp uptick in Denver area motor vehicle accidents some calling for greater public and inter-agency access to data that might help find the root causes of the increase.
There are, arguably, several different reasons why accidents may have increased – higher traffic levels, distracted driving, a spike in pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the roadways and poor speeding enforcement, just to name a few – but a lack of information sharing between engineers, roadway architects, city planners, law enforcement and the public could be exasperating the problem.
Recent media coverage in the Denver area has brought public attention to the difficulty of retrieving valuable traffic and car accident data from various agencies, focusing on the red tape often required including applications, a “Colorado Open Records Act” request, and a lengthy wait, to gather even cursory traffic information from the Colorado Department of Transportation and other agencies.
All this while there has been a rapid year-over-year increase in both car accidents and pedestrian accidents. The question now remains as to whether better inter-agency cooperation could have provided answers about possible contributing factors like:
- Roadway orientation – it might be possible to better protect pedestrians and motorists alike with relatively minor changes in traffic patterns or traffic control devices
- Crosswalk visibility (or lack thereof) that could leave pedestrians and bicyclists vulnerable
- Weather preparedness
- Speeding – police agencies could increase or decrease patrols in various areas to better regulate driver compliance with speed limit zones
- Lack of sidewalks or bike lanes
Could a change in data sharing policies make a difference?
It is possible that media attention to the issue of data availability, and a comparison to the way that different states are handling the sharing of information, will bring about some real change in the way that transportation, legislative and executive officials interact and solve problems. That remains to be seen.
For the time being…
For now, though, there are safety measures that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists can take that will decrease the likelihood that they will be injured in an accident.
For example, pedestrians will be more visible to drivers if they cross the road in a properly marked crosswalk. Drivers should obey speed limit signs, particularly in areas of high pedestrian traffic like schools and shopping centers. Bicyclists should always ride as far to the right of the road as possible, in the direction of vehicle traffic, and should obey traffic control devices like stop signs and lights. Also, pedestrians, bike riders and motorists alike are more likely to be involved in an accident if they are distracted by cell phones, text messaging or mp3 players or are checking email.
Have you been injured in a Denver auto accident? Pedestrian struck by a vehicle? Involved in a bicycle versus car collision? An experienced Denver car accident attorney in your area can give you more information about legal options you may have to recover compensation for your injuries.