On March 17 many celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Denver is hosting the 55th annual Emerald Celebration Parade, which culminates at Coors Field. Unfortunately, the holiday is also widely celebrated with excessive alcohol consumption and has become a dangerous day on our roadways. Drinking and driving takes roughly 10,000 lives in the U.S. annually. Approximately 30% of traffic fatalities are attributed to driver intoxication. In Colorado last year, over 26,000 arrests were made for DUI, and around 150 alcohol-related traffic accidents occurred. Last St. Patrick's Day in Larimer County, there were three such fatalities.
Colorado's Targeted Enforcement Program
The CO Department of Transportation (CDOT) and CO State Patrol has formed a partnership in the development of their “The Heat is On” safety initiative, which will be in effect this St. Patrick's Day. Last year, the coalition arrested over 360 drivers suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. CDOT is planning equally aggressive enforcement again this year, part of which employs the usage of mobile blood-alcohol measuring tools.
Best Practices for St. Patty's Day Safety
- Make plans in advance
- If you decide to drive, stay sober; if you decide to drink, make other arrangements—you cannot do both!
- Consider a designated driver for transportation
- Explore public transportation, a taxi, or other providers such as Lyft or Uber.
- If you witness an intoxicated individual preparing to drive, stopping them may save a life.
- Remember that walking near traffic while highly intoxicated can have serious consequences
Spotting a Drunk Driver
It is important to know and recognize the indicators of a drunk driver. They may demonstrate erratic behaviors such as swerving or drifting outside their traffic lane. Look for rapid bursts of acceleration or abrupt breaking patterns. Other signs include traveling in the wrong direction, having headlights turned off at night, and failing to recognize traffic signs or signals.
The state continues to enforce and stiffen the penalties for DUI, which is strongly prohibited. A common means of detection and testing uses a measuring device for a person's blood alcohol level (BAC) in their breath. A BAC reading over .05 indicates a possibility of operating under the influence, while a .08 level is the definite threshold. Licensed drivers are required to consent to a test of blood, breath, saliva, or urine upon law enforcement's request. Failure to submit to a test triggers an administrative driver's license suspension. The current estimation of the cost of a DUI is $10,000. In addition to suspensions, the offender faces potential jail time, home confinement, fines, probation, remedial classes and more.
Has another driver made you an injury victim by demonstrating recklessness or carelessness? Perhaps a driver who was intoxicated was the cause of the collision? Colorado law allows vehicle injury victims to seek financial compensation for such negligence. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal is firmly committed to defending victims and holding those responsible, as well as the insurance companies that represent them, accountable for the harm they have caused. Contact the office for a complimentary consultation today.