CDOT sees drop in pot-related DUIs in beginning of 2017, but overall fatalities still climbing

Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 13:20:54-04

DENVER – Despite a 33 percent drop in citations for driving under the influence of marijuana in Colorado over the first quarter of this year, state law enforcement says driving while high remains a problem and is focusing on efforts to curb marijuana DUI on the upcoming “marijuana holiday” of April 20.

The Colorado State Patrol held a kick-off event Tuesday for the week of 4/20. Partnering with Uber, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and marijuana shop Native Roots, CSP is encouraging people all week to find a safe ride home instead of driving while impaired after using marijuana.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says that the Colorado State Patrol has issued more than 1,500 marijuana-related citations since 2015, but across all agencies, citations for marijuana DUI were down by 33.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the same time period over 2016, the agency told the Denver Post.

New data from the state shows that around 17 percent of all DUI arrests made by CSP in 2016 involved marijuana, and that one-third of traffic fatalities involved someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or marijuana.

And fatalities on roads involving active THC rose from 2013 to 2015, from 18 in 2013 to 44 in 2015.

At the same time, however, a 2016 CDOT survey showed 55 percent of respondents who were marijuana users believed they could safely drive under the influence of pot.

That’s why on Sunday, the department rolled out its 4/20 program, which will include greater enforcement of DUIs over the 4/20 week.

It is also promoting a program made in partnership with Lyft, where CDOT is distributing miniature “Mile 420” signs at marijuana-related events this week that people will be able to redeem for a $42 voucher for a ride home.

Since the state legalized recreational marijuana, CDOT has had in place a “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign to cut down on marijuana-induced driving.

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