Close up of adult people raising glasses while enjoying Christmas dinner at home, copy space.

Enjoy the holidays but be responsible

Do not get behind the wheel if under the influence of drugs or alcohol

December 21, 2023

With Christmas coming and New Year’s Day following a week later, it is easy to find yourself in a situation where you are leaving a friend’s house, the home of a family member, or a holiday party. Be responsible; if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol do not get behind the wheel. The life you save may be your own, a passenger in your car, a pedestrian or an innocent victim in another car who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you have been drinking this incident will change your life forever and not in a good way! Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario noted that Garfield County law enforcement agencies do not always participate in the statewide enforcement programs, but they do put more patrol cars on the road during the holiday season. From mid-December until after New Year’s Eve, the sheriff’s office adds patrols, watching for potential drunk drivers and other violations that may put the public at risk.

By October 26, 2023, there were 4,131 DUI arrests in the state of Colorado with 169 roadway fatalities from crashes involving an impaired driver. However, it is not just drunk driving that causes fatalities. The Colorado State Patrol reports that in 2022 they responded to 358 of the 763 fatal crashes statewide. Of those, 26 percent were caused by impaired driving; 21 percent by lane violations; and 25 percent by excessive speed or distracted driving.

There is no doubt that our patrol deputies will be focusing on indicators of these four target areas while they actively patrol during the holiday season. If you even think you have over indulged and are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, find an alternative to driving. Ask a friend, call for a ride share, use a taxi or board another form of public transportation.

There is nothing illegal about being intoxicated or under the influence of legal drugs. The only laws that pertains to that are once you get behind the wheel of an automobile. Be responsible and stay safe!

It is a great time of year to be with friends and family. Let us keep it that way for everyone as we enter a new year.