Unfortunately, 2018 was a busy year for the Major Accident Unit of the Colorado Springs Police Department. The unit investigated 48 traffic fatalities, and responded to 104 call outs. In addition to felony traffic crash investigations, these call outs include requests for technical assistance, which MAU detectives provide. Generally, the number of fatalities in the city and the state are trending up each year. There have been 6 traffic fatalities in Colorado Springs thus far in 2019. This equals the number of fatalities at this point last year. As our population increases it is expected this upward trend may continue.
The term “accident,” when referencing these crashes, implies the incident happens by chance, and the drivers are victims of fate. The Colorado Springs Police Department feels this term takes away the responsibility and accountability of the drivers involved. In order to become aligned with this philosophy, effective immediately the Major Accident Unit will be changing its name to the Major Crash Team. This change will bring to light the belief that drivers can avoid these crashes by driving defensively, driving sober, driving at legal speeds, and by eliminating distractions while driving. While a driver’s actions can lead to these collisions, a pedestrian is just as responsible to pay attention to ensure their own safety. So far this year, three pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes. Using the terms crash and/or collision will show these events are preventable, causing the fatality numbers to decrease in the Pikes Peak Region.
This philosophy is in line with one of the 2019 CSPD goals. CSPD is incorporating a traffic strategy group that will consider crash data, and other factors that may affect the 4-E’s of Traffic Safety (Enforcement, Engineering, Education and Encouragement). Important to this strategy group are partnerships with other law enforcement agencies as well as other stakeholders such as Drive Smart, Traffic Engineering, the City and District Attorney’s Office, and others. The strategy group will recommend deployment efforts and street engineering changes, along with educational and citizen encouragement components. This goal highlights CSPD’s effort to keep our citizen’s safe while driving in Colorado Springs.