As festival season ramps up, so does impaired driving, but it doesn’t have to. And a local nonprofit is trying to help cut down on the number of inebriated drivers. You’re watching the “Local News Network” brought to you by The Payroll Department and Sky Ute Casino Resort. I’m Connor Shreve. Driving under the influence tends to be a bigger problem in our region than in other parts of the state. That can be attributed to factors like Durango’s tourism, college party, and bar scenes, as well as lack of ride share in public transit in more rural areas of Southwest Colorado. According to fiction law firm, La Plata County ranks third for felony DUI filings in Colorado while filings in Dolores and Montezuma counties, that’s Colorado’s 22nd Judicial District, rank fifth. The Coalition on Responsible Driving is addressing that issue with a program to provide alternative transportation to people throughout the Tri-County Area.
So we do a couple of things. So we have a campaign to raise awareness about how different things can affect your blood alcohol level which makes if the higher the blood alcohol level, the more dangerous it is to drive. And then also trainings for servers. So working with the local restaurants and bars to educate them on how to recognize signs of like, if people are too impaired to drive and what to do in that situation.
Emily Spahn with the School Community Work Collaborative says, sharing responsibility can be part of the solution and reminds service industry workers that under current law, servers are liable for damages in cases involving customers who have been overserved. Ride Responsible is working with help from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
And there have actually been a large number of impaired driving deaths in this area which is why we were selected for funding. And so there were a couple of high schoolers from Cortez who got in an accident. Someone was killed over in Dove Creek and there have been some deaths over in Durango and Bayfield area as well.
The organization works with rideshare programs and public transportation departments during events to make it easier to access a safe ride. Spahn says, the map isn’t difficult. A DUI is life-changing. And if preventative measures are available, the solution should be obvious.
Always way better safe than sorry, especially when you can get out on the road and not only hurt yourself but someone else who’s driving with a van full of kids.
So with that in mind, the issue starts with awareness and Ride Responsible wants to make sure whether you are attending a festival or not, securing a safe way home from the outset is a good place to start. Learn more about this story and others online at durangolocal.news. Thanks for watching this edition of the “Local News Network.” I’m Connor Shreve.