Drunk driving is a serious problem across the country, including in Colorado. State legislators and law enforcement agencies do their best to persuade drivers to act responsibly, but a recent investigative report shows that not only have many drivers gotten behind the wheel while impaired, but many of them are also chronic repeat offenders. This creates a huge threat to other motorists and pedestrians on the road because drunk driving accidents are often deadly.
The report, conducted by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, analyzed state data and discovered that almost 11,000 of more than 45,000 drivers cited for impaired driving from April of 2012 to April of 2014 were driving with revoked or suspended licenses-and some had no licenses at all. Nearly 2,300 had lost their driving privileges after previous DUI convictions. Statewide, an average of 15 repeat offenders were either cited or involved in accidents every day. The numbers did not include drivers in Denver County.
Among the more prominent cases was a 40-year-old male drunk driver who ran a red light and struck the vehicle of a 17-year-old male. The teen, who was killed, had been looking forward to graduating from high school in two months. The alleged drunk driver did not have a valid state license and had a previous DUI citation. On the same day, 10 drivers were arrested in Colorado, half of them without licenses because of prior DUI offenses. The problem of repeat offenders is that they have a high chance of injuring or killing someone.
Any Colorado resident who is injured in a drunk driving accident has the option to take legal action against the drunk driver, not only to satisfy the need to pursue justice but also to reinforce the lesson of accountability for negligent drivers. If criminal penalties do not offer satisfaction, perhaps civil penalties will.