Personal Breathalyzer Program Working Well In Colorado

personal breathalyzer The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been running a personal breathalyzer program all year. Now that the year has almost concluded, they’ve got some interesting data to share.

The program was designed by CDOT for first time drunk drivers in Colorado. The participants were given a personal breathalyzer and tracked, with the goal of determining whether or not that breathalyzer would prevent them from receiving a second drunk driving conviction.

Of the 475 participants 75% said they regularly used a handheld breathalyzer. When the data came in, it showed that carrying a personal breathalyzer can really make an impact on a drunk driver.

Some drivers no longer assume they’re safe to drive after drinking  

Before the program, 42% of the participants thought they were fine to drive after a few drinks. Now that they have a personal breathalyzer, they no longer feel that way.

Only one person has received another DUI conviction

The goal of a personal breathalyzer is to prevent you from driving drunk, and since starting the CDOT program only one person out of the group has received a second DUI conviction.

The majority think everyone should own a personal breathalyzer

94% of CDOT participants think everyone who drinks should have a personal breathalyzer with them at all times.

Not everyone knows what the legal BAC is

It’s hard to imagine, but not everyone knows that .08 is the legal BAC in most states. 85% of the participants in CDOT’s program knew that was the legal limit for a DUI conviction in Colorado, but only 59% knew that there was a .05 limit at which you can be charged for DWAI (driving while ability impaired).

There’s one thing good to keep in mind when using a breathalyzer: just because you blow below the legal limit doesn’t mean you should drive. If you receive a reading of .06 on your personal breathalyzer, you’re still better off to stay safe and not drive at all.

Personal breathalyzers are a great tool to have around when you want to know what your blood limit is, and carrying one can help you stay safe during the holidays and beyond.

Colorado Skiing is Fun, But Don’t Get Arrested For Drunk Driving

car in snowIf you’ve ever heard the term après ski, you know the sport of recreational skiing is associated with drinking. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as those skiers and snowboarders aren’t driving after they hit the slopes. If they pack up their gear after a few drinks and head home down the hill, they are extremely likely to be arrested for drunk driving.

In Colorado, it’s even more likely you’ll be arrested for drunk driving after you’ve hit the ski hill. According to the Colorado State Demographer’s Office and the Colorado Courts, the Central Rockies are a hot spot for drunk drivers, and the Rocky Mountain Resort region is where police are nabbing the highest number of drunk drivers.

The Denver Post recently published stats that showed 8.8 out of 1,000 residents were arrested for drunk driving in Summit, Lake, and Eagle counties. Summit county is home to Breckenridge and Keystone, two world class ski hills in Colorado.

When you’re trying to stop drunk driving in a resort town, you have to get a little creative. That’s why Colorado police in Eagle County are part of the statewide ‘The Heat is On’ campaign. The Heat is On is a DUI task force started back in 2007, and officers patrol and look specifically for drunk drivers.

With the holidays here, it’s even more likely that people who are skiing or snowboarding in Colorado are going to be caught by this DUI task force. That’s why it’s important to be aware of a few ways you can avoid being arrested for drunk driving when enjoying the snow at a Colorado ski resort.

Carry a personal breathalyzer

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recommends you carry a personal breathalyzer with you at all times this holiday. Although you shouldn’t drive after drinking any amount of alcohol, a personal breathalyzer will let you test your BAC and know whether you’re anywhere near the legal limit.

Check the CDOT R-U-Buzzed app

You can also track your BAC by entering your information into CDOT’s app. It will compare your estimated BAC with the current Colorado DUI standards and tell you how long it may take you to become sober.

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Colorado, there’s one penalty you should be aware of. All offenders arrested for DUI in Colorado will be required to install an ignition interlock—a device that prevents a driver from starting the car if they have alcohol in their blood stream, in any vehicle he or she drives. Even first offenders will be required to use an interlock for eight months.

Apres ski should be fun, not life-threatening, so keep these DUI statistics in mind if you’re going to head up to the Rocky Mountain Resort region of Colorado. As long as you drive sober, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable ski season.

Colorado Drunk Driving Penalties May Include Scarlet Letter Plates

Colorado drunk drivingThe idea of public shaming to fight back against drunk driving is nothing new. Some states publicize mug shots of their drunk drivers in the newspaper and on the web. Other states add a dose of shame to their DUI penalties. That could soon be the case for Colorado drunk driving laws.

The Colorado State Patrol set up a poll online recently, the purpose of which was to ask the public how they felt about scarlet letter plates. These plates have a bright red-on-yellow design and they are one way to immediately alert the public that the person in the vehicle is a convicted drunk driver.

The poll specifically asked, “Would you, personally, support a “scarlet letter” indicator on the license plate of a convicted drunk driver?” By the time the poll closed there were 350 people who had voted, and the majority supported scarlet letter plates for drunk drivers. The only division was whether or not they supported them for first time offenders.

40 percent of the respondents said that they believed first offenders convicted of Colorado drunk driving should be required to use the plates, but 33 percent thought only repeat offenders should have to put the plates on their vehicle.

There were 20 percent of people who believed that the scarlet letter plates should not be used at all, but that minority may not know these plates are already in use in other states. Ohio has been using scarlet letter plates since 1967, but they’ve only been mandatory for drunk drivers since 2014.

Just because they put up a poll doesn’t mean the scarlet letter plates will become part of Colorado drunk driving law, but if Ohio is any indication, there’s definitely no harm in trying. If a little shame works to prevent someone from drunk driving, why wouldn’t you try?

There Were Quite A Few Strange DUIs In September

strange DUIsA lot can happen when you mix alcohol and driving, and over the past month there have been quite a few strange DUIs recorded on police blotters that really make you wonder what that driver was thinking.

A DWI street sweeper joy ride

What are the odds that someone would look at a street sweeper and decide it’s the perfect vehicle to take for a joyride? Unfortunately, one drunk driver in Raleigh, North Carolina made that decision and his fun ride ended in felony charge.

The man jumped on board the street sweeper when the driver was emptying trash cans at a local mall. He drove it around the mall parking lot, smashing into another vehicle, and was only stopped when he ran it over a median. The $50,000 vehicle was damaged and he was charged with felony larceny, DWI, and hit and run.

Shenanigans are great, but not when you’re driving

When you spot someone wearing a t-shirt that says “Beer + Beer = Shenanigans,” you know there’s a strong likelihood that their entire evening could easily go off the rails. That’s exactly what happened to the wearer of such a t-shirt in Sterling, Connecticut.

The man was pulled over by police after they saw him driving into the sidewalk with his vehicle, and he failed sobriety tests, had marijuana in his possession, and had a 12-inch machete in his car. He received a host of charges including operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) and now has a court date. For his sake, let’s hope he chooses another t-shirt for his day in court.

Assault is no laughing matter; neither is drunk driving

Domestic assault isn’t anything to joke about, and after a St.Cloud, Minnesota woman called in a complaint about a domestic assault early one morning, police were on the scene quickly. They discovered that no such assault had taken place, and the woman who called it in was actually a drunk driver.

When police arrived and talked to her, she appeared to be under the influence. She said she’d had an argument with her husband and drove her vehicle home. Although she did exhibit injuries on her face, it turns out that she had fallen while she was walking and hurt her eye. Once she submitted to a breathalyzer test she blew double the legal limit, so police charged her with DWI.

These are just three examples of strange DUIs in September. Although each had a different ending, the main takeaway for everyone should be one thing: you can avoid your own strange DUI by handing the keys to a sober driver if you’ve been drinking.

 

Staggering Number Of DUI Arrests In Colorado During Labor Day Weekend

DUI arrests in ColoradoNight or day, at three am in the morning or four pm in the afternoon, there are police on the roads arresting drunk drivers. It’s a steady business but some periods of time during the year are definitely busier than others, and if you asked Colorado police and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) when those busy times were, they’d tell you that summer always brings a rush of DUI arrests in Colorado.

During a recent enforcement campaign called “The Heat Is On,” Colorado police processed a shocking 1,184 DUI arrests. That number was up over last year’s 964 DUI arrests, and it shows that drunk drivers were out in full force all across Colorado on Labor Day weekend.

The number of drunk drivers may ease up a bit as fall kicks in, but that doesn’t mean the Colorado police are going to slow down enforcement. They have 14 periods of enforcement every year that include different campaigns, and they’ve kicked off a new fall campaign that will cover the period of time when college begins, football games become a weekly staple, and October festivities bring out the beer and the drunk drivers.

Along with constant enforcement, CDOT created another new campaign designed to get people to test their blood alcohol content (BAC) via personal breathalyzer.  They’ve also recently passed a felony drunk driving law that requires a stiff prison sentence for anyone who drinks and drives three or more times. It just took effect on August 5th, 2017, and those offenders must serve 90 days up to two years in jail depending on the circumstances of their sentence.

Put it all together and it’s easy to see that Colorado is a state that’s really trying to crack down on drunk drivers on the roads, but there’s one thing missing: stronger ignition interlock laws. If laws change to require longer ignition interlock terms for all offenders, drunk drivers in Colorado may not feel as tempted to get behind the wheel. Given how the state has pulled out all the stops to prevent DUI arrests in Colorado, a stronger ignition interlock program may be the next logical step.

After DUI crash, Victim Has A Bittersweet Ending

DUI crash

Image from Today.com

There aren’t many happy endings after a DUI crash, and when the dust settles the people involved in the crash are either killed, injured, or arrested for drunk driving. But despite his injuries one victim of a DUI crash that occurred in East Vail, Colorado had a bittersweet ending, and now a man and his dog are both alive and have just been reunited.

Chance Patterson was driving home after work with his two dogs in the car; a German Shepard named Carlitos and a pit bull named Izzy. They had been at a doggy daycare and Patterson had just picked them up. The next thing he knew a drunk driver had crashed into him after crossing the center lane, totaling his car and leaving him with serious injuries. When he asked whether or not his dogs lived through the crash he was told that Carlitos had died at the scene and Izzy was nowhere to be found.

He was taken to the hospital with several broken bones and a lacerated lung, so he couldn’t go out and search for Izzy. That’s when the East Vail community kicked into overdrive looking for the dog, and as volunteers searched there were several reports of people spotting the frightened pit bull.

Thankfully the owner of the doggie daycare Izzy frequents went out to look for her too, and when she called out to her, Izzy was happy to see a familiar face. She survived the crash and only had a sprained toe, and she stayed with a friend until Patterson was released from the hospital and he and Izzy were reunited.

Despite his injuries and the fact that one of his dogs was killed, Patterson says he has no ill will toward the drunk driver. Although specifics about the drunk driver’s charges aren’t known, if she’s convicted for the DUI crash and she’s a first offender she could receive at a minimum up to one year in jail, community service hours, driver’s license suspension for at least nine months, and an ignition interlock when she qualifies to have her license reinstated.

It’s tragic that he lost one dog, but if you asked him Chance Patterson would tell you that being reunited with Izzy is definitely a happy ending after experiencing the horror of a DUI crash.

Colorado’s Felony Drunk Driving Law Now In Effect

Colorado felony drunk driving lawThere has been a lot of debate over whether or not a stint in prison is an effective way to stop a convicted drunk driver from driving under the influence again, and what works for some repeat offenders may not work for others. But spending time in prison could give that repeat offender time to consider the unwise choices they’ve made, and that’s why so many states are getting on board with harsher penalties including the passing of a felony drunk driving law.

In the case of a first offense, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would rather see the driver back on the road with an ignition interlock instead of spending a few days or a month in jail, but repeat offenders aren’t the same as first offenders. These are people who will drink and drive repeatedly, and they’ll do so whether they have a suspended driver’s license or they’re required to install an ignition interlock and they just don’t bother.

That’s why there are many states are passing felony drunk driving laws that require significant prison time for someone who drinks and drives three or four times, and Colorado is the latest state to pass a felony drunk driving law. It’s just taken effect as of August 5th, 2017.

Although there was prison time required for repeat offenders in Colorado, there was a loophole that let judges dictate the sentence. The end result was some people only received probation while others were sent off to serve long stretches.

With the new felony drunk driving law, a four-time repeat offender in Colorado must serve 90 to 180 days in jail if the judge decides to give them probation. There is also a work release program available, and if that is part of an offender’s sentence, they are required to serve 120 days up to two years in prison.

A felony drunk driving law has worked for other states, and time will show that it works for Colorado too.

Drunk Driving Charge In Colorado? Sign Up For The Breathalyzer Program

smartphone breathalyzerIt’s not an absolute given that a first-time drunk driver will go on to receive another drunk driving charge, but as police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have discovered over the past 20 years, once they’ve had one charge it’s much more  likely they will receive another.

Reducing drunk driving recidivism is one of the reasons why MADD came out in full support of ignition interlocks for all offenders in every state, and since they’ve made interlocks a part of their main mandate, they’ve lobbied in all states who have an interlock bill on the table.

Colorado passed their own all offender ignition interlock law in 2009, and since that time they’ve cracked down hard on their drunk drivers. Now, as part of their continuing efforts to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has launched a program they’re hoping will lend an extra helping hand.

CDOT is asking first time offenders who have received a drunk driving charge to use a smartphone breathalyzer, and in doing so they’d like to see if having that breathalyzer in their possession will reduce the likelihood that the offender will receive another charge.

This isn’t a new program in Colorado. It’s actually been around since 2015 when CDOT asked over 200 people to use a smartphone breathalyzer and tracked their behavior. After using it for a summer 84% of the people said that it reduced their risk of receiving a drunk driving charge, so CDOT adapted the program for first time drunk driving offenders.

Colorado is doing a great job preventing these people from re-offending by focusing on proven methods like ignition interlocks, and there’s no harm in trying experimental programs like one. Anything that stops a first offender from becoming a repeat offender is a good thing, and Colorado is taking the extra steps required to keep their offenders stay on the straight and narrow.

 

Friday Fallout: Can You Get A DUI On These “Vehicles?”

horse

A vehicle is something that gets you from point A to point B, but not all vehicles are going to be looked at as equal when a police officer suspects you of drunk driving. Cars, trucks, vans, eBikes, and ride on lawnmowers all have one thing in common: you can receive a drunk driving charge on any of those vehicles because they’re motorized. Even if you’re considered to be in physical control of that motorized vehicle and you’re not actually driving it, you can still be charged with DWI or DUI.

Other vehicles, like a bicycle or a horse, fall into a grey area. A horse is not a motor vehicle, but that doesn’t stop some states from charging you with drunk driving on a horse if you’re pulled over on one. One man in Kentucky was charged for drunk driving on a horse, and another man from Colorado was charged for both drunk driving and animal cruelty because he was riding his horse while drunk.

But lawmakers in Minnesota don’t consider a horse to be a motor vehicle, and if you’re found on one and you’re drunk, you won’t be charged with drunk driving. That doesn’t mean you get off free and easy. While a police officer may not legally be able to hand you a drunk driving charge, you could still be charged with public intoxication.

Drunk driving, no matter if it’s on a horse, golf cart, lawn mower, or car, is a really bad idea. If you’re ever in a position where you need a ride, choose a cab or a ride share instead of choosing a vehicle. You’ll be safe and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be stopped for drunk driving.

How Much Time Will You Spend On Your DUI Conviction?

DUI conviction For most people, time is money. That means your time is too valuable to waste, especially on something that’s avoidable like a DUI conviction.

But too many people don’t realize the real cost of a DUI conviction before they drink and drive. They might know how much the fines are or what it will cost to reinstate a driver’s license, but most won’t factor in time they’ll have to put into sorting it out and moving on.

Take a Colorado DUI conviction for example: according to NoDUIColorado, it takes approximately 170 hours to work through a first offender conviction.

Here’s a look at what a DUI conviction will cost you in terms of your time:

Going to court

Did you know that you may head to court more than once for a DUI conviction? Some first offenders in Colorado can head to court up to six times to work through everything required to process your DUI.

DUI school

If you’re required to attend DUI school as part of your DUI conviction in Colorado, you’ll be spending a minimum of twelve hours in classes. The number of hours you’ll spend could rise depending on the blood alcohol content (BAC) you were arrested with and which treatment track the judge deems you’ll be on after arrest.

Using an ignition interlock after a DUI conviction

When factoring in how long a DUI takes to work through, offenders may forget the time they’re required to use ignition interlock in their vehicle. Most first time offenders may need  to use one for a period of twenty four months.

170 hours doesn’t sound like much, but NoDUIColorado summer it up pretty well: it’s the equivalent of eighty movies or twenty-one days of paid vacation.  When you think about it in those terms, it’s a lot harder to swallow, isn’t it?

Time is valuable; you don’t have to waste yours on a DUI as long as you don’t drink and drive.

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