Drunken driving discouraged

Play it safe on the roads during the holidays

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— While the holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, local officials encourage residents to celebrate safely and responsibly by not drinking and driving under the influence.

Colleen Lyon, Routt County director of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, wants Routt County residents to take a stand against drunken driving, since December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

"Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is simply not worth the risk," she said. "The consequences are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant."

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is a community-based substance abuse prevention organization. The coalition provides education, training and research services in Routt, Grand and Moffat counties.

Although the coalition is not hosting any events in recognition of the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, Lyon said it is important for residents to recognize the importance of not driving under the influence of any substance.

"As a community, we need to provide our youth with healthy beliefs and clear standards that are widely and consistently supported, including community norms not favorable to substance use and abuse," she said.

Adult and juvenile driving under the influence of alcohol arrests are 200 percent higher in Grand Future's coverage area than state rates, Lyon said.

"It's an alarming figure," she said.

Routt County Sheriff's Office Undersheriff Dan Taylor said residents should be aware that additional deputies will be patrolling the county's roads and highways during the holiday weekend.

"We're just hopeful that everyone will self-police themselves and not drink and drive," he said. "I think we've been doing a pretty good job of that the past few years."

New Year's Eve typically is a bigger holiday for drinking and driving, police said.

Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said Christmas weekend is one of the busiest for Steamboat Springs since many families have visiting relatives in town.

"There are going to be a lot of people here out and about celebrating, and we just want to remind everyone to be responsible and plan ahead," he said.

Officers typically respond to more one-vehicle, DUI-related car accidents than at any other time of the year because of icy and snowy roads, he said.

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