Auto accidents killed 572 people in Colorado so far in 2016. A 5 percent increase over 2015. The collected data, from the state Department of Transportation, is through mid-December. Which means the 2016 totals may yet climb.

Five years ago, driving deaths hit a low point – but have climbed 28 percent since. Much of the recent increase is driven by fast-growing metro area counties like Adams, Arapahoe, and Denver. There’s been a substantial jump in auto fatalities in Larimer County as well.

Ben Markus/CPR News

Yet, when you account for population size differences, the highest rates of fatal crashes are in Colorado’s oil and gas producing areas. Weld, Garfield and La Plata County all have about twice the rate of fatal crashes compared to metro area counties.

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