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How to Report a Drunk Driver in Colorado

February 1, 2019

Drunk drivers take thousands of innocent lives every year, including in Colorado. If you see someone driving erratically on the road or witness a person getting into the driver’s seat after drinking, reporting them to the police can help save lives. Giving a detailed report to law enforcement can help keep these individuals off the road and decrease the chance of serious, potentially fatal accidents.

If you or a loved one was a victim in a drunk driving accident in Colorado, our Denver DUI accident attorneys can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to explore your options.

Colorado Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk driving accidents can be incredibly dangerous and often fatal due to the severely impaired judgment of the drunk driver. Colorado roads are not exempt from accidents involving drunk driving deaths and injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Between 2003 and 2012, Colorado saw 1,702 people die in crashes involving drunk drivers.
  • 1.9% of Colorado adults reported driving after drinking too much in the past 30 days.
  • Approximately one in three traffic accident fatalities in the United States involves a drunk driver.
  • Men died in drunk driving accidents at a rate of 3.9 per 100,000 people in Colorado. Women who had a rate of 1.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • The highest rate of death in drunk driving accidents across age demographics were people between the ages of 21 and 34, who died at a rate of 5.6 per 100,000 people in Colorado.

Signs of an Impaired Driver

Unless you saw the driver consume alcohol yourself, you may wonder if someone on the road is drunk or impaired. You may not want to falsely report a driver to the police, but in these situations, it is better to be safe than sorry. You could prevent injuries, property damage, and death.

The Colorado State Patrol released a few tips on how to spot a drunk driver on the road. If you are unsure if a driver is drunk, think about the following criteria.

  • Making excessively wide turns
  • Accelerating rapidly
  • Appearing to be drunk, such as driving with his or her face close to the windshield, drinking something in the car, etc.
  • Swerving or weaving through traffic
  • Responding slowly to traffic signals
  • Tailgating
  • Almost hitting an object or person
  • Making illegal or abrupt turns
  • Braking erratically
  • Straddling the center of the lane
  • Driving very slowly for no reason
  • Driving at night with no headlights

Sometimes, drivers can experience a momentary lapse in judgment and could perform one of these actions briefly. However, if a driver is consistently engaging in this behavior or is performing many of these actions, report him or her to the Colorado State Patrol.

Reporting a Drunk Driver in Colorado

To report a drunk driver to Colorado authorities, pull over in a safe place to make a phone call. You can call 911 for emergency services, or you can dial one of Colorado’s special cell-phone-only hotlines. You can dial *CSP (star 277) to reach the Colorado State Patrol or *DUI (star 384) to reach the drunk driving hotline. When you report the impaired driver, make sure to give the dispatcher the following information.

  • The exact location of the driver, including the road you spotted them on and the direction he or she was heading
  • A description of the vehicle, including the color, make, and model
  • The license plate number, if you know or saw it
  • A description of how the driver was operating the vehicle

What Happens If You Know the Drunk Driver?

Sometimes, you do not spot the driver on the road but notice someone preparing to drive after drinking alcohol. It can be difficult to report someone you know for drunk driving. The first course of action you should take is to talk the person out of driving before he or she gets behind the wheel.

You can offer to call a cab or a rideshare service to take him or her home. You can take the person’s keys until he or she sobers up and talk him or her out of driving. However, if the person still does not cooperate and drives anyway, you should report him or her. Potentially saving multiple lives – including the driver’s – far outweighs any fallout for reporting his or her drunk driving.