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Law enforcement taking low tolerance approach to driving dangers this season

Longmont Public Safety is working alongside CPS and Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, to make the roads safer this year, particularly when it comes to high-visibility DUI enforcement.
LPD (1 of 1)
Longmont Police on patrol

With the holiday season in full swing and winter weather on the horizon, local law enforcement is stepping up street safety.

Going out to holiday parties often entails alcoholic libations, be it beer, wine or a cocktail. Colorado State Patrol, or CSP, is ramping up enforcement protocols this holiday season, issuing more citations for lane violations, weaving and speeding through the end of the year. 

“The 2021 crash picture is the worst we have seen in Colorado in over five years. We are lowering our tolerance on what may have once been given a warning. Colorado is facing a safety crisis and we know that visibility and strong enforcement will save lives,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.

Longmont Public Safety is working alongside CPS and Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, to make the roads safer this year, particularly when it comes to high-visibility DUI enforcement, according to Longmont Police Sgt. Eric Lewis.

“There are specific times of year when the holidays are grouped together and that’s when we see more of the impaired driving,” Lewis said.

The holidays aren’t the only time of year the police are concerned with bad driving, Lewis explained, but there is an increased awareness and tighter focus on distracted and impaired driving. Maintaining situational awareness is important and drivers should keep their focus and awareness on operating their vehicle instead of other distractions, Lewis said.

Aside from the telltale sign of an active crash scene, Lewis said that Longmont Police are on the lookout for reckless behavior, swerving, weaving in lanes, speeding and traffic light violations. Officers won’t go into a traffic stop assuming that someone is impaired, Lewis explained, but they are watching for it. Longmont Public Safety will have increased traffic patrols targeting bad driving through the start of 2022, according to Lewis.

Colorado’s Blood Alcohol Limit, or BAC, for impaired driving is worth noting. Driving While Ability Impaired, or DWAI, is .05% BAC, while a DUI is .08% and even with less than .05%, CDOT warns that drivers can still be arrested if an officer notices signs of impairment during a traffic stop. According to CDOT, the fines, legal fees and insurance costs for a driver with a DUI can total more than $13,500.

Lewis echoed the caveats of CDOT and CPS, that drivers should be extra cautious this time of year, for the safety of themselves and the community as a whole. 

  • Drivers should put their distractions down — eating, using their cell phone, etc.
  • Passengers and drivers should all buckle up.
  • Maintain the speed limit.
  • Have a designated driver or make plans for a ride share.

Public transportation in Longmont is limited, but RTD has several free bus routes within Longmont city limits. Flex Express also offers trips between Boulder, Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have drivers operating throughout Longmont and Boulder County. 

To incentivize safe driving during the holidays, CDOT and the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration are partnering with Uber to provide ride credits for party hosts and their guests to safely make it to and from their holiday gatherings. Using the promotional code HOLIDAYSAFE, the credit can be added to a user’s Uber account for one use per person between Dec. 1 and Jan. 3.

“If you’re going to go out and enjoy the holidays and have fun with friends and family, get to your destination safely and have a sober driver,” Lewis said.

 

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