El Paso County “Surge Enforcement Team” focuses on dangerous drivers

News Release

June 14, 2023 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Law enforcement agencies come together for intense, 24-hour enforcement period focused on speeding and aggressive drivers

Haga clic aquí para ver este comunicado de prensa La jornada de vigilancia “Surge Enforcement Team” en el condado de El Paso se enfoca en conductores peligrosos en español.

El Paso County — Law enforcement agencies in El Paso County are joining forces for a concentrated, 24-hour effort to remove dangerous drivers from roads in the greater Colorado Springs area. Starting at 6 a.m. on Friday, June 16, the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Fountain Police Department and Monument Police Department will be heavily patrolling various high-risk areas of highways within the county for speeding, distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers.

The June 16 enforcement is the second “Surge” enforcement effort in El Paso County this year. The first occurred in March, which resulted in 368 drivers cited in a 24-hour period. Speeding was the most frequent violation, resulting in 307 citations. There were 10 seat belt citations issued, along with six DUIs and four stolen vehicle recoveries.

"Through focused enforcement and heightened visibility, our goal is to send a clear message that dangerous driving behavior will not be tolerated on our roadways," said Capt. Scott Hophan of the Colorado State Patrol. “We urge all drivers to prioritize safety, respect one another and join us in creating a culture of responsible and mindful driving.”

The Surge Enforcement Team is in response to an increase in speeding and risky driving behaviors in El Paso County. According to data from CDOT, El Paso County had the most road fatalities of any Colorado county in 2022 with 83 lives lost. Of those fatalities, 27 were lost in to impaired driving, landing El Paso County among the counties with the highest number of impaired-driving fatalities last year. In addition, El Paso County has had the highest number of speeding citations in all of Colorado over the past three years, according to CSP data.

“We’re in the midst of the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer which demands heightened caution behind the wheel,” said Cmdr. Christopher Gonzalez of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “This enforcement aims to prevent tragedies and protect lives on Colorado roads.”

In 2022, 28% of all roadway fatalities in El Paso County involved speeding. Between 2021 and 2022, the county saw a 57% increase in speeding-related fatalities.

This is the second of four high-intensity Surge enforcement periods planned in El Paso County this year. The June 16 patrols will focus on US 24, CO 94, CO 115 and CO 21 (Powers Boulevard), as well as Woodmen Road between CO 21 and US 24.

“The Surge represents our ongoing commitment to enforcing the consequences of speeding, distracted, impaired and aggressive driving,” said Cmdr. Dan Thompson of the Colorado Springs Police Department. “Our community continues to suffer losses as a result of reckless driving choices. Through vigilant enforcement, proactive educational efforts, and community collaboration, we strive to empower our community to drive responsibly.”

Last year, Colorado lost 752 lives to traffic fatalities, the most ever. For every fatality, there are five serious injuries caused by crashes on Colorado roads.

“We commend the teams in El Paso County for organizing this heightened enforcement,” said Darrell Lingk, safety director for CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Their efforts are no doubt saving lives and contributing to a safer transportation environment for everyone.”

More fatal crashes happen on Colorado roads during the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of year. An increase in cars on the road, motorcyclists and teen drivers, and a historic increase in impaired driving are all factors contributing to a spike in motor vehicle fatalities this time of year. CDOT urges drivers to be vigilant and use caution behind the wheel.