In 2014, the Colorado State Patrol saw a new era of impaired driving enter into our state. In an attempt to document the trends, Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol ordered the specific tracking of marijuana related citations. A summary of the 2014 DUI/DUID data is as follows.
· 5,546 citations were issued for DUI/DUID driving actions.
· 354 citations were issued for DUID driving actions where marijuana was the only indicator.
· 674 citations were issued for DUI/DUID driving actions were marijuana was one of the indicators.
· The 12 month average for citations related to marijuana was 12.2% of the total DUI/DUID citations.
· January, April, and December were the three highest months for citations involving marijuana usage as a percentage of the overall DUI/DUID citations issued.
· 75% of the 2014 DUI/DUID citations issued were the result of proactive motorist contacts.
When asked about the 2014 data Colonel Hernandez said, “The efforts made in 2014 highlight the Colorado State Patrol’s commitment to the citizens of Colorado to make the safe travel along all roads a priority. I am proud of these efforts and will continue to work with our troopers to ensure the safety of all citizens and visitors of our wonderful state.” To date, the CSP has over 540 Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) trained troopers and 61 Drug Recognition Experts (DRE).
“Clearly this arrest data underscores the need for CDOT’s Drive High, Get a DUI campaign in 2015,” says Amy Ford, CDOT spokesperson. A CDOT study last year found that 43% of marijuana consumers in Colorado said it was okay to drive high. After our education campaign, a new CDOT study showed that 21% of recreational marijuana consumers still didn’t know you can get a DUI and 57% of those who used marijuana drove within 2 hours after consuming it. “We won’t be satisfied until everyone in Colorado takes driving high seriously so the need for awareness and education is paramount,” says Ford.
As the Colorado State Patrol enters 2015, we are encouraged by the efforts made throughout the state by every law enforcement officer to reduce the number of impaired drivers making the decision to drive on Colorado roadways. In 2015, the Colorado State Patrol will continue to collect data and investigate trends that will enable our agency to better adapt to the rapidly changing impaired driving attitude in Colorado.