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Fewer drunk driving arrests in Colorado aren't really progress

The number of drunk driving arrests made in Colorado during times of "increased enforcement" dropped significantly between 2017 and 2018 -- but law enforcement agencies within the state says there's no reason to celebrate.

Colorado's Department of Transportation says that 7,723 arrests for drunk and impaired driving were made during a total of 14 periods of high-level, high-visibility enforcement over the course of 2018. That's down from 10,350 arrests the previous year. But the difference probably isn't an indication that there are less drunk drivers on the state's roads.

Instead, the drop is a reflection of drastically decreased funding directed toward local law enforcement. In 2017, local patrols received more than $833,000 to support their efforts at keeping the roads safe from drunk drivers. In 2018, they received only $1,645.

This news comes on the heels of a widely publicized story involving a Colorado father who accepted a guilty plea in a vehicular homicide case after his drunk driving led to the death of his 4-year-old son this past year. The father received an 18-year prison term, but will be eligible for parole in five or six years.

The divorced dad had picked his two children up from daycare after consuming several shots of whiskey and eventually lost control of his car on a curve. Lab experts estimated that at the time of the crash his blood alcohol content was a minimum of 0.19 -- more than twice the legal limit and well above the 0.15 point that Colorado uses to apply enhanced penalties.

Tragic stories like this serve as a warning for others because they illustrate the serious perils of drunk driving. If you decide to drink and get behind the wheel, you aren't just risking your own life -- you're risking the lives of everyone else on the road, including any passengers in the car with you.

Don't drink and drive. If you do make a mistake, however, make sure that you talk to an experienced DUI attorney about your case.

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