Colorado recently enacted legislation designed to track impaired driving in the state. The measure, which came after a sharp spike in roadway deaths in recent years, has now produced its first sets of data — and the information is illuminating.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the study on those charged with driving under the influence, or DUI:
- Men are the overwhelming offenders. They represent almost three-fourths of all DUI defendants.
- Young men are the most common defendants. While defendants ranged from teenagers to the elderly, males in their 20s were charged in almost 30 percent of cases.
- Alcohol, not drugs, is the big problem. Officers don’t always test for drugs use — especially if alcohol use is already evident.
- Marijuana is the other intoxicate most commonly found in drivers, but it only shows up in a little over 6 percent of cases.
- Repeat offenders are distressingly common. Around 38 percent of those charged already had a previous DUI conviction on their records.
There’s a wealth of additional information to be mined from the study, which was collected from data available from 2016. Officers and experts are likely to use much of this information in their education and enforcement efforts as they try to stem the tide of intoxication-related accidents and deaths on the roads.
Much of the focus, officials say, will be on changing the “culture” that encourages young men to party hard and then accepts the fact that they may drive home. You can also bet, however, that law enforcement will tend to look harder than ever at young, male drivers that are suspected of drunk driving.
If you are charged with drunk driving in the state, you may face an uphill battle winning your case. According to the data, 88 percent of people charged with a DUI are convicted. Information like that should tell anyone who is accused of drunk driving that they need to observe their right to remain silent and contact an attorney immediately for advice.