Colorado State Patrol releases marijuana driving while high stats | SummitDaily.com

Colorado State Patrol releases marijuana driving while high stats

Summit Daily staff report

In 2014, the first full year of legal marijuana in the Centennial State, the Colorado State Patrol saw the beginning of a new era of impaired driving.

In an attempt to document the trends, Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of CSP, ordered all state patrollers to track marijuana-related citations. CSP recently released a summary of the 2014 data for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

• 5,546 citations were issued for DUI and DUID driving actions.

• 354 citations were issued for DUID driving actions in which marijuana was the only indicator.

• 674 citations were issued for DUI and DUID driving actions in which marijuana was one of the indicators.

• The 12-month average for citations related to marijuana was 12.2 percent of the total DUI/DUID citations.

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• January, April and December saw the highest number of citations involving marijuana use as a percentage of the overall DUI and DUID citations issued.

• 75 percent of DUI and DUID citations in 2014 issued were the result of proactive motorist contacts.

"The efforts made in 2014 highlight the Colorado State Patrol's commitment to the citizens of Colorado to make safe travel along all roads a priority," Hernandez said.

"I am proud of these efforts and will continue to work with our troopers to ensure the safety of all citizens and visitors of our wonderful state."

To date, CSP has more than 540 Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) trained troopers and 61 Drug Recognition Experts (DRE).

"Clearly this arrest data underscores the need for CDOT's 'Drive High, Get a DUI' campaign in 2015," said Amy Ford, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A ​CDOT study last year found that 43 percent of marijuana consumers in Colorado said it was OK to drive high. Following the CSP's education campaign, a ​new ​CDOT ​study showed that 21 percent of recreational marijuana consumers don't realize a motorist can get a DUI and 57 percent of those who used marijuana drove within two hours of consuming it.

"We won't be satisfied until everyone in Colorado takes driving high seriously, so the need for awareness and education is paramount," Ford says.

As the CSP enters 2015, officials say they are encouraged by the efforts made throughout the state by officers to reduce the number of impaired drivers on Colorado roads and highways. This year, CSP will continue to collect data and investigate trends as attitudes about impaired driving rapidly change in Colorado.