CDOT graduates 13 Drug Recognition Expert from DUI training program

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Impaired drivers were involved in 33% of fatal crashes in 2020

With an increase in fatal crashes linked to impaired drivers in 2020, the Highway Safety Office at the Colorado Department of Transportation today graduated 13 officers from its Drug Recognition Expert school. The DRE School is a nine-day intensive training that provides law enforcement officers the knowledge, skills, and abilities to detect vehicle operators who are impaired by a variety of drugs. Officers learn how to document the impairment and present a case in a courtroom setting on drug impaired driving.

Law enforcement agencies that participated in the DRE school were:

  • Arvada Police Department
  • Basalt Police Department Brighton Police Department Colorado Springs Police Department
  • Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Granby Police Department
  • Lakewood Police Department (2 officers)
  • Longmont Police Department
  • Loveland Police Department

The graduation of the 13 officers took place on May 6th at the Montrose County Event Center in Montrose, Colorado.

CDOT graduates 13 Drug Recognition Expert from DUI Training Program

While alcohol remains the most common substance found in fatal crashes involving an impaired driver, there is a concerning uptick in fatal crashes that involve other drugs, such as cannabis. The number of drivers involved in fatal crashes with active THC above the legal limit of 5 nanograms increased from 33 in 2017 to 49 in 2019. During those same years, fatalities that involved alcohol fell from 192 to 164.

In addition, arrests are increasing for drivers impaired by multiple substances. According to Colorado State Patrol data, arrests increased 90% for drivers impaired by cannabis and alcohol and 17% for drivers impaired by cannabis and other substances between 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, there were 208 people killed by a suspected impaired driver in Colorado, which is 33% of all people killed in traffic crashes that year — and an 18% increase over 2019.