(COLO) – The unofficial end of summer is upon us: cookouts, patio parties and enjoying a long weekend. If alcohol or other impairing substances are a part of your celebration, the Colorado State Patrol wants you to plan ahead for a sober driver. Last year, impaired driving was the top causal factor for fatal crashes in Colorado. This was a 6% increase over 2021.
“Most people worry about impaired drivers on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, but the truth is all holidays bring people together and they often celebrate with impairing substances,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We have to get to the place as a community where we value human life as much as our good time. Call a rideshare, plan on staying the night, make a plan to do anything but drive after drinking or using drugs.”
Looking at Colorado State Patrol crash data for 2022, there was a three-way tie for the top holiday for impaired driving-caused crashes. St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day each had 23 crashes. When looking at a four-year period (2019-2022) Fourth of July was the top holiday (101 crashes) and Labor Day came in the second spot (74 crashes).
Regarding impaired driving crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol, alcohol remains the largest impairment type, but Colorado is also seeing a rise in marijuana and drug combination-caused crashes.
Drivers under the influence often behave erratically by weaving or swerving, accelerating and decelerating for no apparent reason, hugging or straddling the center line, or failing to turn headlights on.
If you come across a suspected impaired driver, pull over and call *CSP (*277). Be prepared to provide the location and direction of travel for this driver. In addition, you will need to describe the make, model and license plate along with the concerning driving behavior that you witnessed.
Do not attempt to pass the driver or drive alongside to get their attention. After you call, it’s up to law enforcement. “If the driver isn’t impaired, a breath or blood test will determine that. And if he or she is, you may have just saved a life – possibly more than one,” stated Chief Packard.
Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment.
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.