You can help get drunken drivers off the road before an accident happens.
Halfway through 2020 — and despite months of pandemic-induced lockdown — state police say Colorado has already seen more than 268 traffic fatalities, 30 percent of which involve an impaired driver.
Other drivers can help get drunken drivers off the road before they crash by recognizing the signs that a driver is impaired.
Signs of Impaired Driving
Every 50 minutes in the United States, a person is killed in a drunk-driving crash — almost 30 people a day. Here in Colorado, the transportation department arrests 60 people a day for driving under the influence (DUI). Despite months of lockdown mandates, Colorado still saw a high number of fatal crashes involving an impaired driver, 66 deaths as of July 1.
A driver may be impaired if he is speeding up or slowing down while braking erratically, driving well below the assigned speed limit, driving on the wrong side of the road or drifting from side to side, nearly hitting an object or another car, failing to use headlights at night, making sudden or too-wide turns, or reacting too slowly to traffic signals.
If you notice a driver exhibiting such behavior and putting others on the road at risk of an auto accident, pull off the road and call 911. If possible, note the license plate number and the make, model, and color of the vehicle. You should not try to stop or interfere with the car or the driver, and you should keep your distance from the vehicle in case the driver makes a sudden move that puts you in greater danger.
Colorado Ranked Among Worst States for DUI
In 2018, AutoInsurance.org ranked states with respect to DUI. Colorado came in as the 13th-worst state in this category. (Wyoming, ranked first, was worst.)
In 2018, Colorado had more than 20,000 DUI arrests, or 410 DUI arrests per 100,000 residents. During the last Memorial Day weekend, in late May, police arrested 231 drivers statewide for DUI. Jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license can also be among the consequences if you are caught driving under the influence.
To help teach people that imbibing even a little liquor can impair your reactions, the Colorado Department of Transportation has partnered with the breathalyzer manufacturer BACtrack to offer residents a 50 percent discount on a personal breathalyzer. The device can detect blood alcohol content (BAC) if you’ve been drinking. In the eyes of the law, you are considered to be drunk if your BAC reaches .08, but even a reading of .05 can get you arrested if you are showing signs of impairment. In the cases of some women and smaller men, just a couple of drinks can cause a BAC of .05.
If you are going out drinking, it’s always best to arrange for a designated driver in advance. Otherwise, plan to get home by way of a taxi or ride-share.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident by a suspected drunk driver, contact personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.