Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Steamboat Springs Drunken drivers aren't Routt County's only problem. Of the seven arrests Colorado State Patrol troopers made during the last "Heat is On" campaign, four were actually DUID's: driving under the influence of drugs. Three of the four arrested were juveniles.
"We're seeing more and more of it," state trooper Brett Hilling said.
Although the arrests usually involve marijuana, troopers are seeing increasing abuse of methamphetamines, cocaine and prescription drugs.
Trooper Ryan Parker said part of the problem is that there is a lot of drinking-and-driving awareness, but not much smoking-and-driving awareness.
"People know not to drink and drive," he said. "But there's not a lot of education on doing drugs and driving."
Hilling agreed, and said whatever the reason, both are equally dangerous.
"A lot of people would never drink and drive, but they have no problem smoking a joint and driving," he said.
Not only that, Hilling said he is willing to bet that most people have drugs in their medicine cabinets at home that should not be used when driving.
"People either don't know, or don't pay attention to it," he said.
Hilling said that whenever the public is polled or a public meeting is held, the No. 1 resident request is that troopers and officers get drunken drivers and drugged drivers off the road.
"We feel successful if we get them off the road before they've killed themselves or anyone else," he said.
For that reason, troopers are only too willing to shift their day schedules and work nights on the weekends.
By 10 on a Friday night, one out of every four drivers on the road is drunk or drugged, Hilling said.
"There's absolutely no doubt," Hilling said, "that when you get a drunk driver off the road, you're saving somebody's life."
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com