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Fueled by a rise in impaired driving fatalities, Colorado on pace for deadliest year on the roads since 2004

Fatalities involving impaired drivers are up 15% from last year. This year, 221 people have lost their lives.

COLORADO, USA — There are a lot of cars on the road this time of year, traveling for the holidays to visit loved ones.

The Nackos family in Severance wishes there was one more car on the road heading home to celebrate.

"It’s been five years. November 24 it was five years," said Scott Nackos, whose son Kyle was killed by a drunk driver. "The fact that he’s not with us during the holidays makes it even tougher."

Kyle Nackos was 19 years old when he was hit and killed while driving home from a concert. Hundreds more families have been put in the same position since the day the Nackoses got a knock on the front door from a police officer.

"A lot of his friends are getting married and a lot are having babies and some of them are graduating from college," said Kyle's mother, Julie Nackos. "We always think, what would Kyle be doing right now."

They've worked every day since then to try and bring the number of impaired driving deaths down. Still, the number keeps rising. 

"To us it’s unbelievable that the numbers are going up," Scott Nackos said. "There should be zero crashes like this. There’s so much more that people can do."

Traffic fatalities in Colorado are on pace to be the highest of any year since 2004. Fatal crashes involving impaired drivers are fueling the increase.

Data released to 9NEWS by the Colorado Department of Transportation shows 620 people died on roadways through the beginning of December. That’s around 6% higher than that time last year. 

But fatalities involving impaired drivers are up 15% from last year. This year, 221 people have lost their lives.

About 35% of all fatal crashes in Colorado this year have involved impaired drivers. Other factors that have contributed to the rise in traffic deaths include speeding and distracted driving.  

"It’s not a one year deal," Scott Nackos said. "It’s not 10 years. It’s a lifetime. It’s moments that are so hard that sometimes we can’t breathe."

Of all the cars on the road, the Nackoses are missing the one that never arrived home.

"It is heartbreaking to me to think that somebody else has to go through this," Julie Nackos said.

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