GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Highway traffic deaths in Colorado had been declining for 8 years, falling from 743 in 2002 to 439 in 2010.
However, in 2012 Colorado State Patrol recorded 468 highway accident fatalities, and that increase has some people questioning where the change is coming from.
Some accuse former patrol chief James Wolfinbarger of relaxing the patrol's strategies for reducing highway deaths, including changing their goals from specific (such as cutting fatal and injury crashes on the worst roads by 6 percent) to vague (such as maximizing intelligence-led strategies to protect life and property).
The increase in deaths isn't causing the CSP to react swiftly, though, and Captain Jeff Goodwin believes a knee-jerk reaction could make the situation worse.
"We’d like to have some time to analyze [the numbers]," says Goodwin, "and figure out exactly what we may need to do to change either strategies or philosophies in the way we’re doing business".
Currently the State Patrol is running its own investigation into the cause of the increase, and there will be no changes to their policies until that investigation runs its course.