While Colorado’s traffic fatalities are down slightly (8 percent) during the first five months of 2014 compared to last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and law enforcement throughout the state remain committed to stopping two major causes of death on Colorado roadways: impaired driving and driving unbuckled. During a recent two-week Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign running from May 12 – 25, 7,554 seat belt violations were reported to CDOT. But even with the heightened Click It or Ticket education and enforcement, there were 10 unbuckled fatalities that occurred during that timeframe, representing a 25 percent increase from the same enforcement period in 2013
“These statistics aren’t just numbers. They represent the lives of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Each one of us has the choice to drive sober and buckle up. And it’s sad that those choices aren’t always made, which can result in unnecessary injuries and deaths.”
Over Memorial Day Weekend through The Heat Is On DUI enforcement period, law enforcement removed 397 impaired drivers from Colorado roadways. And during this year’s DUI enforcement period which ran from May 23 – 27, there were two alcohol- and/or drug-related fatalities on Colorado roadways, representing a 67 percent decrease in fatalities from the same time period in 2013.
“Each DUI arrest made and every seat belt citation written represents lives saved,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure safety on our roadways. Everyone deserves the opportunity to arrive at their destination without fear of an impaired driver. And the best defense against an impaired driver is wearing your seat belt.”
The law enforcement agencies that issued the highest number of seat belt citations during the May Click It or Ticket enforcement period include the Colorado State Patrol (2,489), Aurora Police Department (1,363), Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (553), Lakewood Police Department (511) and Adams County Sheriff’s Office (472). During the Memorial Day The Heat Is On DUI enforcement period, the law enforcement agencies who removed the most impaired drivers from Colorado roadways include the Denver Police Department (54) Colorado State Patrol (52), Aurora Police Department (45) and Adams County Sheriff’s Office (26).
Increased, summer-long DUI enforcement means that users of Colorado roadways should proceed with caution when planning summer festivities. The state’s NoDUIColorado.org website is a great resource for helpful tips on decisions you can make whether you host a party or attend a festivity that includes alcohol. The site offers an online Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) calculator that helps indicate BAC levels based on gender, weight, alcohol consumed and time. Facts about marijuana and driving are also listed on the website, as well as an interactive map with the latest DWAI, DUI and BAC county data.
The next Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, with efforts focused on nighttime hours, will take place from July 21 – 27. The next The Heat Is On DUI enforcement period will focus on the 4th of July weekend, running July 3 – 7. More details about the DUI enforcement plans and arrest results can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com and more details about the seat belt enforcement arrests can be found at SeatBeltsColorado.com.