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Colorado tickets are up, but deaths are down

Now that our long-awaited Colorado summer is just around the corner, more of our state's residents and visitors are on the roads destined for the mountains and rivers, or just tooling around cities like Grand Junction. However, the Colorado State Patrol is warning drivers that they are on the lookout for impaired and distracted drivers who put others, and themselves, at risk.

The CSP has a "Zero Fatalities, Zero Tolerance" policy, which is exactly what it sounds like. Of course, a driver doesn't have to be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or medication to be a danger on the road. The CSP is also on the lookout for distracted drivers, such as those texting while driving. According to the website Distraction.gov, in Colorado, texting while driving is against the law for all drivers. Further, using a cellphone while driving (even a hands-free device) is illegal for drivers under 18.

The CSP's efforts have resulted in a significant uptick in citations given this year over last. Speeding tickets are up by more than 17 percent, tickets for not wearing a seatbelt have risen by nearly 15 percent, and proactive arrests for DUI have increased nearly 13 percent. The increased enforcement seems to be showing positive results. The number of fatal crashes has dropped by more than 25 percent over 2013.

The focus of the CSP's enforcement on dangerous driving behavior shows just how preventable many deadly auto accidents are when drivers simply focus their full attention on the road and drive responsibly. Those who don't can face criminal penalties that can follow them for the rest of their lives.

They can also face civil action by victims and their families. They need to recoup medical or burial costs and often want to send a message to others who show little regard for other Coloradoans' safety by asking for punitive damages as well.

Source: KJCT8.com, "CSP tackles distracted driving" Cassie Heykoop, Apr. 28, 2014

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