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Transportation department tests new idea to stop drunken driving

Drunken driving is a ubiquitous problem everywhere in the country, including Colorado. Every year, thousands of people are injured and killed. In Colorado, the Department of Transportation is trying various approaches to preventingdrunk driving, combining both old and new ideas.

The department recently unveiled a plan to allow frequenters of lower downtown Denver's night life to park for free overnight and even get a breakfast the next morning on three consecutive Fridays, August 15, 22 and 29. The designated parking area at 21st and Larimer Streets will be available for those who participate from 6 p.m. onward. Security guards will patrol the area. This is part of the department's latest event in the "Last Call" campaign to get drunken drivers off the state's roads, an element in the coming Labor Day's DUI crackdown. Drivers will receive a free voucher to get a ride home and a free breakfast.

There are a few catches, though. The parking lot can only accommodate 30 vehicles. Once drivers have parked, they can only get their vehicles after 7 a.m. Vehicles have to be moved by 10 a.m. or be ticketed. These are small prices to pay compared to an accident that injures or kills. One Colorado State Patrol captain noted that, despite continued statewide efforts, hundreds of people are arrested every year for driving under the influence.

Despite CDOT's never-ending attempts to prevent drunken driving, the problem will only truly end when drivers themselves make the best decision to not drive after drinking. Although many drivers understand that the wiser choice is to call a cab or use a designated driver, others still foolishly put their own and others' lives and safety on the line every year. Fortunately, these drunken drivers can be held accountable by their victims through legal action.

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