Highway 287 Car Accident in Longmont
In recent years, data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has shown that Highway 287 between Longmont and Lafayette has been one of the most dangerous roads in Boulder County. Specifically, for a two-and-a-half-year period from late 2015 to mid-2018, there were 13 traffic accident deaths on this stretch of highway. In this article, the lawyers at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, will examine the cause of these fatal car accidents and what is being done to make Highway 287 safer. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in this area, we invite you to call us today at 303-543-1000 to speak with one of our experienced Longmont personal injury lawyers.Why is Highway 287 So Dangerous?
Reports vary as to why Highway 287 has so many accidents happen in the area between Longmont and Lafayette, Colorado. While the high number of fatal accidents is what grabs headlines, our Longmont personal injury attorneys know from experience that beyond just fatal crashes, there have been many more severe crashes in which serious injuries, but not death, has occurred on this stretch of road. So, what makes Highway 287 so dangerous?
One of the most common reasons cited as to why Highway 287 is so dangerous is the combination three factors: 1) there is no barrier (or undivided highway) between Northbound and Southbound 287; 2) the high speeds that cars, trucks, and motorcycles travel on this road; and 3) distracted driving. Additionally, increased development means there are more commercial trucks driving up and down Highway 287, which historically has resulted in more severe accidents when large vehicles like this are involved in a car accident.Divided Highways Are Safer
Although the Longmont personal injury lawyers at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, can speak from experience, data backs us up when we say that divided highways are safer. For example, in a study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2008, it was clear that divided highways are much safer than undivided highways. That particular study found that highway dividers or partitions reduced car accident rates by approximately 2/3 or 66% compared to when no partition was present. That study can be found here.
Interestingly, in 2019 Boulder County and CDOT officials have begun taking steps to improve the safety of traffic on Hwy 287 between Longmont and Lafayette, Colorado by improving infrastructure around intersections, widening medians, and even installing medians where the do not currently exist. Recent reports show that particular attention is being paid to the intersection of Hwy 287 and Arapahoe Road, where numerous collisions have occurred in recent years.High Speeds on Highway 287
Motorists tend to travel faster on rural roads as opposed to in the city. As with many Colorado communities, Longmont and Lafayette are experiencing unprecedented growth. This means that whatever rural characteristics these two towns have had in the past are becoming more and more urban. In the traffic context, a dangerous situation is created when high speed traffic encounters congestion, or other motorists, that up until now rural drivers did not need to consider. This only amplifies the bad driving habits that, in a rural setting, had fewer consequences. Moreover, the roads that feed Highway 287, like Highway 66 north of Longmont, and Highway 52, often carry drivers from I-25 where it is much safer to drive at highway speeds. When these drivers end up on Highway 287, they often still drive at highway speeds even though the safety features of I-25, like divided highways, are missing.
An experienced Longmont personal injury attorney understands that one way to control speed on formerly “rural” roads is to install traffic safety devices such as traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, and other traffic control systems. Because Highway 287 is now becoming more densely traveled, CDOT and Boulder County officials need to seriously examine where traffic systems can be installed on this road.Distracted Driving
Local elected officials and law enforcement like the Colorado State Patrol have also commented that distracted driving is a factor in accidents along Highway 287. Specifically, fatal crashes have been caused in which distracted drivers have crossed from northbound 287 to southbound 287, and vice versa, resulting in head-on collisions.
While common sense tells us that driving distracted is dangerous, many drivers on rural roads believe they can get away with it because there is so little traffic. However, in situations where population and development are booming, like in Longmont and Lafayette, what may have been relatively inconsequential in the past is now resulting in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Boulder County, as well as the cities of Longmont and Lafayette, would be well-served to step up distracted driving enforcement along this stretch of highway.Get Personal Injury Help Today
If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been killed, on Highway 287 between Longmont and Lafayette, we recommend contacting a lawyer immediately to discuss your options. At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our Longmont personal injury lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are ready and able to help you with your car accident claim. We invite you to call us today at 303-543-1000 for a fee consultation about your case, and we can meet you at our office in Lafayette or in Longmont. Help is just one phone call away.