Colorado Cops to Step Up DUI Enforcement in Fall
As the weather cools and summer quickly turns to fall, law enforcement officers across Colorado are ramping up efforts to crack down on drinking and driving.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol are partnering for what they call “the Fall Festivals DUI enforcement period,” the agencies recently announced. A 41-day stretch over September and October “will bring an increased presence of DUI patrols across the state,” according to CDOT and CSP.
“No matter the time of year or occasion, you should never be in the driver’s seat if you are under the influence of any substance,” Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety director, said in a statement announcing the initiative. “We are doing our part to keep Colorado roads safe; do your part and choose a sober ride every time.”
The fall push is one of 16 designated “high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods,” which the agencies plan around national holidays and large public events. They include specific sobriety checkpoints, emphasis on patrol and additional cops on the ground policing for impaired driving.
A total of 148 people have died in Colorado traffic accidents linked to impaired driving so far this year, CDOT data show.
“That’s 148 people that won’t make it home to their families,” Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Matthew C. Packard said in a statement.
“On a very basic and personal level, you need to ask yourself how you can get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking alcohol or consuming drugs,” Packard added. “Our enforcement efforts are one way to prevent impaired driving deaths, but this is an ongoing epidemic that can only be reversed when this choice becomes personal and you, your friends and your loved ones commit to sober driving.”
Adams and Arapahoe counties have seen the highest number of such fatalities (16) over the year, followed by Jefferson (14), Denver (13) and El Paso (13).
Denver DUI Accidents Prove Fatal
Recent accidents highlight the serious risk that comes with drinking and driving, both for the person who makes the reckless decision and everyone else on the road.
A local father of seven was killed, for example, in a May accident near I-70 in Aurora. The man reportedly was just five minutes away from his home when a suspected drunk driver plowed into his vehicle. The other driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Two months later, a man accused of drunk driving in a crash that killed two local high school students was convicted on criminal charges and sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars. The pair of 17-year-olds were days away from starting their senior years at Castle View High School when the fatal accident happened.
The drunk driver was already on probation for a DUI arrest in California at the time of the collision, according to a local news report. Prosecutors said he was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, was speeding and driving in the wrong direction and then slammed his vehicle head-on into the teens’ car.
The case highlights an alarming trend: law enforcement officers and the transportation department say they are seeing increasing levels of DUI accidents in which drivers are impaired by marijuana or illegal drugs.
A Denver Post investigation showed that the number of drivers in fatal accidents who tested positive for marijuana skyrocketed by 145 percent in the first three years after the drug was made legal in Colorado. The news outlet said the number is likely even higher because coroners are not required to test people who die in crashes for THC levels.
Legal Rights for People Injured in Colorado DUI Crashes
More than 20,000 people are arrested for DUI across the state annually, CDOT data show.
Suspected drunk drivers face criminal punishment, which varies based on the circumstances. A first-time DUI offender is looking at up to one year in jail, $1,000 in fines, and a nine-month suspension of his or her driver’s license. That is not to mention probation and community service requirements. They also may be on the hook for any injuries caused to others as a result of their recklessness.
Anyone who is injured in a drunk driving car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. You do not need to go it alone: an experienced Denver accident attorney can help you understand your rights and options, identify those liable for the collision and maximize your money damages.
Most Colorado car accident cases are based on claims of negligence, a legal theory that holds people and entities responsible when they do not live up to a certain “duty of care.”
Drivers, for instance, owe others on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means obeying traffic laws, maintaining appropriate speeds and avoiding risky behavior like drinking and driving. A driver who does not meet this responsibility is likely to be liable for any accidents that happen as a result.
The money damages often available in these cases include compensation for medical bills, property damage, missed wages and any impact on your earning capacity. In the tragic case that a person is killed in an accident, his or her loved ones have the right to seek similar compensation from wrongful death.
Money damages will not allow you to go back in time and stop the crash from happening. Compensation can, however, ease some of the pain and stress that comes with being involved in a traffic accident.
Speak with a Denver Accident Attorney Today
Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver accident attorney.