DUI enforcement stepped up for holiday weekend

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— Despite a drop in DUI arrests last year, Steamboat Springs police continue to step up enforcement during busy holiday weekends.

This weekend, with Labor Day on Monday, Steamboat police are using state money to devote officers to identifying impaired drivers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is part of the state's The Heat is On campaign.

"All they do is traffic stops, and they're specifically looking for impaired drivers," Steamboat police Sgt. Scott Middleton said.

A banner hanging above Lincoln Avenue downtown this week reminds drivers to "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

The banner was purchased using grant money obtained by the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, a local nonprofit that aims to keep kids alcohol and drug-free.

"I think enforcement is a big part of preventing DUIs," said Kate Elkins, the program director for the organization.

Elkins thinks people in Routt County are getting the message that it is important to not drink alcohol or do drugs before driving.

According to the Steamboat Springs Police Department, DUI arrests were down 20 percent last year. In 2012, there were 138 arrests, and in 2013 there were 110 arrests.

Routt County as a whole also has seen a decrease.

According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, in 2011 there were 270 charges filed for DUI or driving while ability impaired. Last year, there were 157 charges filed.

Elkins said she thinks the decrease can be attributed to good work by local law enforcement and continued advertising campaigns by Grand Futures.

“This is an important weekend to remind our community and those visiting that substances and driving do not mix — this includes alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs,” Elkins said. “We encourage people to plan ahead and be sure to designate a sober driver before festivities begin — use a taxi, rely on a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

Comments

rhys jones 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I won't suggest that it might be other changes to Colorado law, which has contributed to the overall decrease in DUI's over recent years... but I could...

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