Tuesday, March 6, 2001
Steamboat Springs How long must we wait before the Colorado Department of Transportation takes serious steps to slow down and educate drivers on Rabbit Ears Pass?
How many more people must die before CDOT installs appropriate signage or reduces the speed limit on the pass, at least in winter?
We've said it before: The reason people are dying on Rabbit Ears is because the pass is being driven by the overconfident and the ignorant. Overconfident drivers drive too fast and ignorant drivers don't know they should slow down.
Rabbit Ears Pass always has been a dangerous place to drive. The scary thing about the main route into Steamboat Springs now is that more and more people are driving it.
This winter, two Front Range truckers died while driving too fast coming down Rabbit Ears. A third sobering crash badly injured a local woman.
The second trucker died just this past Friday. It was the ninth traffic fatality on Rabbit Ears in a little more than two years. Of those nine deaths, only one occurred in summer. But they all occurred since CDOT raised the speed limit on sections of Rabbit Ears from 55 to 60 mph.
We would like to see CDOT reduce speed limits on the pass, at least in winter. Statistics indicate that the higher speeds are causing more accidents. Local lawmen definitely believe that's the case.
But lower speed limits aren't all we'd like to see changed. We'd also like to see increased signage to warn those drivers who are unfamiliar with the pass about its dangers, especially in winter.
Perhaps the transportation department puts up signs that say:
"Nine people have died on this pass in the last two years. Do you want to be next?"
We're tired of waiting for CDOT to act. Bureaucratic sluggishness is one thing. But failing to make improvements that could save lives is completely unacceptable.