The Daily Camera reports that data from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment shows that gun suicides jumped 20 percent from 2011 to 2012, the biggest single increase in twelve years, and for the first time surpassed motor vehicle fatalities.
Fatalities involving firearms have long outpaced motor vehicle deaths in the state, but this is the first time that gun suicides alone have exceeded traffic fatalities which includes DUI accidents as well as non-alcohol related crashes.
The article notes that Colorado ranks thirty-second in the United States for traffic fatalities per miles traveled, but has the eighth-highest suicide rate in the country. The highest suicide rates are typically in the western states. Gun suicides are almost seven times more common among men than women.
The fastest rising causes of injury deaths in Colorado have been poisonings (including drug overdoses), fatal falls (primarily affecting Colorado’s growing senior population), and suicides.
The good news is that motor vehicle fatalities have been gradually decreasing over the past dozen years, from 700 in 2000, to 457 in 2012, despite the growth in Colorado’s overall population.