Traffic Fatalities up in Colorado
KREX News Room
DENVER- After four straight years of decline, traffic fatalities have increased so far this year, and officials say they're worried.
DUIs have become a little too familiar for law enforcement agencies. "I know somebody who was driving with her husband and she was hit by a drunk driver and lost her hand," said Susan Stanton, a Grand Junction resident.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says fatal car accidents are up by 19 percent this year, compared to last year at this time.
According to the most recent report, 41 percent of accidents involved were alcohol related. "I call 911 if I see someone driving crazy. I just call them and I get their licenses plate and report them," said Stanton.
Mike Rossi, a former Denver police officer of 18 years, now owns the Western Slope Driving Institute and an Interlock company. He says drinking and driving is a major problem. "When the economy gets bad, I think there's a rise in drug use and alcohol abuse."
Rossi says that due to his history and background he's made sure students at his driving institute are aware of drunk drivers and know not to drink and drive. "The reason why I built so much around my DUI portion is because it's such a problem."
Even with campaigns like Click it or Ticket and 100 Days of Heat, fatality numbers continue to rise.
In a CDOT report from Memorial Day weekend, there were 479 DUI arrests made, with 34 of those made at sobriety checkpoints. "I'm not sure where we need to go and how we curtail it. Right now we have so many laws in the books, I don't know how many more laws you can have to prevent people from doing what they do," said Rossi.