A 28-year-old woman who was behind the wheel of an SUV that crashed spectacularly in Northeast Colorado Springs on Jan. 20 has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. A video of the accident that was captured by a dashboard camera and posted on social media has garnered thousands of views. The footage shows the SUV striking a concrete wall several times as it made its way up the South Rockrimmon Boulevard entrance ramp to Interstate 25. The SUV then struck a guardrail on I-25 before flipping over into a ravine.
Colorado is one of the worst states in the nation for drunk driving, according to a new report that compared drunk driving rates by state. At No. 13 for overall drunk driving, Colorado posted a rate of 411 DUIs per 100,000 people in 2018. The highest overall drunk driving rate was in South Dakota where there were 721.9 DUIs per 100,000 people last year. North Dakota was No. 2 on the list followed by Wyoming, North Carolina and Mississippi.
The Colorado Department of Transportation launched a major enforcement campaign beginning on Halloween to target drunk drivers on state roads. During this Halloween enforcement period, stretching from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 228 drivers were arrested and charged with impaired driving. Called "The Heat Is On," the campaign involved 91 different law enforcement agencies across the state. It marked a significant drop from the toll of the year before, however, when 378 people were arrested during the special enforcement period. Spokespeople said that holiday weekends are of particular concern for DUI because people go out to parties and consume alcohol or cannabis before driving home.
In an effort to reduce alcohol-related accidents over the Labor Day holiday weekend, Colorado authorities are launching an anti-drunk-driving campaign called The Heat Is On. As part of the campaign, the Colorado Department of Transportation is offering BACtrack breathalyzers to the public at a 50% discount. Drivers can use the portable devices to measure their blood alcohol content levels before they get behind the wheel of a car.
In Colorado and other states where medicinal or recreational marijuana has been legalized, police officers are changing the way they conduct traffic stops where they suspect impaired driving. They plan to perform a variety of tests that help prove a driver is intoxicated with THC since it is tough to prove with just a blood test. They may record information related to driving behavior, smell, dilated pupils, and the presence of marijuana paraphernalia.
People who are arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be given the opportunity to defend themselves against the charge. There are many different ways in which an individual may do this. For instance, he or she may use an affirmative defense by claiming that he or she was forced to drive or that driving was a necessary evil. Other affirmative defenses include asserting that an individual was entrapped or became intoxicated without consent.
There has always been a debate on whether marijuana use affects a person's ability to drive. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reported that the four states that legalized the use of recreational marijuana have experienced up to a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle crashes in recent years.