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The impact of driving under the influence in Colorado

Every 53 minutes a person in the United States dies in an alcohol-related crash - an average of 28 people per day and more than 10,000 people per year. An additional 121 million people reported driving while impaired in 2014 but only 1.1 million, or 1 percent, of those drivers were cited for driving under the influence.

In Colorado, the 12th worst state for drunk-driving related convictions and deaths, 1.9 percent of adults reported drinking too much alcohol in the last 30 days. These are scary statistics, knowing that many of these people share the road with you and your children.

What sanctions help deter and punish drunk driving?

While a first Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense in Colorado can result in 5 days in jail - nearly 2 times the national average of 2.7 days - plus minimum fines of $600.00 and 9-month license suspension, the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) has confirmed more than 26,000 people are arrested in Colorado each year for driving under the influence.

While the fines do not increase for subsequent Driving Under the Influence charges, license suspension times increase with each conviction. The Colorado DOT also confirms on average 150 people are killed in alcohol related accidents each year, which makes up nearly 1/3 of traffic fatalities on an annual basis.

What are officials doing to combat drunk drivers?

In April 2016, police arrested and prosecutors charged an 18-year-old man with DUI and reckless driving after a two-car crash resulted in the deaths of two people in Arapahoe County. The victims were women aged 82 and 77.

To combat these and other deaths, the Colorado DOT has implemented two campaigns to educate and enforce these laws:

  1. A Few Can Still Be Dangerous is a campaign designed to remind citizens that just a few alcohol drinks can be enough to impair cognitive abilities. The campaign features two commercials that use humor to target their audience, primarily males aged 21 to 35, and reminds drivers of other options like Lyft, Uber, and RideShare. This campaign directly compliments recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has reported a 160 pound man would only need to consume 4 alcohol drinks to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, the legal limit in many states including Colorado.
  2. The Heat is On is a campaign that provides grants to police departments encouraging strong DUI enforcement and public awareness during 12 specified periods throughout the year. In 2014, DUI enforcement over Labor Day resulted in more than 1,100 arrests.

The goal and our hope is for law enforcement to pull drunk drivers off the road, for safety campaigns to raise awareness and for people to make good decisions on a level that prevents all drunk driving accidents.

We all know that this is not possible at the moment, which is why victim of their negligence have the ability to obtain compensation after-the-fact. The Law Office of Chadwick McGrady, P.C. is ready, willing and certainly able to help victims in Colorado. Visit our page on drunk driving accidents to learn more.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts," accessed June 16, 2016

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