The Colorado State Patrol reports that impaired driving consistently remains a top causal factor for injury and fatal accidents across Colorado.
A recently released study from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice shows that more than one third of drivers convicted of DUI in 2018 had at least one prior DUI and 8% had three or more. It is the third report to be published by the division of criminal justice as mandated by a House Bill 17-131, which requires the report on DUI data.
Past reports showed similar findings regarding previous DUI convictions.
MORE ON THE NUMBERS
In 2018, Colorado prosecutors filed 26,255 cases with at least one DUI charge, according to the report. Those cases were tracked from arrest to the final court outcome as the Department of Criminal Justice looked at things like offender demographics, toxicology results, charges, final dispositions and more.
Colorado’s conviction rate for DUI was reported to be 88% in 2018. Drivers age 26 to 34 accounted for 30% of all DUI filings, and three out of four of the cases involved males. Men age 21-25 had the highest rate of DUI cases.
Blood alcohol tests conducted at the scene of many of these cases also revealed many of the drivers were well over the 0.08 blood alcohol content legal limit. The Colorado blood alcohol content limit for a DWAI is 0.05.
The average blood alcohol content was 0.156 and nearly 84% of court cases linked to an alcohol testing result had a blood alcohol level of over 0.08. Only 5% of the blood alcohol content tests conducted detected no alcohol.
Crashes were also common in DUI cases.
Nearly 26% of the drivers convicted of DUI were involved in crashes and nearly 1,000 involved crashes with injuries.
“Impaired driving continues to be a serious problem, with serious consequences,” Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Department of Public Safety said in the press release. “ The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies statewide continue their partnership to bring awareness of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving as well as increase enforcement activities across the state.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law agencies statewide heightened DUI enforcement period from Sept. 11 to Oct. 28 resulted in 1,398 DUI arrests.
“While the numbers of arrests have reduced, impaired crashes remain in the top three causal factors for fatal and injury crashes in Colorado for 2020,” Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in the press release. “We should never forget that every single injury and death caused by impaired driving are preventable. It’s all too easy to forget that statistics refer to real people. We will continue to look for impaired drivers who choose to put lives in danger on Colorado roads.”
A total of 95 agencies participated in the 48-day DUI enforcement period, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (191 arrests), Denver Police Department (141 arrests), and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (86 arrests) recording the highest number of arrests
“Safety on Colorado’s roadways isn’t just CDOT’s goal — it should be a focus for every single person on the road,” Darrell Lingk, Colorado Department of Transportation director of the Office of Transportation, said in the press release. “We all want to make it home safely to our loved ones, so we encourage everyone not to jeopardize that by driving impaired.”
The Grand Junction Police Department made 36 arrests during the 48-day DUI enforcement period and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office had six.