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Auto accidents are one of the most common reasons why people are injured and killed in Colorado. Most car accidents are preventable, yet every year more than 300 drivers and passengers lose their lives and almost 2,500 are injured around the state. While state law enforcement agencies do their part to help curb accidents, Colorado’s drivers need to step up and do what they can to avoid being in accidents.

Who is most likely to be in a car accident? Statistically, drivers who are 15 to 24-years-old or 65 years and older are the most likely to be in auto accidents. Inexperience, unnecessary risk taking and a lack of seatbelt use contribute most to accidents involving young drivers. For older drivers, slower reaction times are the chief problems.

What is Colorado doing to prevent car accidents? The state aims to curb accidents with a variety of policies and programs. A 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping the state develop strategies that could help save lives by preventing accidents.

The first program aims to see enforcement of a seatbelt law that covers all ages and all possible seating positions within vehicles. The second program looks to raise age when a person can get a learner’s permit to 16-years-old. Third change will be raising the age for intermediate licenses to 17. The fourth program looks to expand the prohibited driving hours for people with intermediate licenses from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Despite the efforts of the state, accident rates will not fall without the cooperation of Colorado’s drivers. This means avoiding negligent driving practices, such as drunken and distracted driving, drowsy driving and not following traffic regulations. Besides facing criminal charges, negligent drivers can be held civilly liable by car accident victims.