Public Health and Safety

Impaired Driving in Colorado: 2016 – 2018 (Nov 2020)

In 2017, Colorado passed House Bill 17-1315 which requires the Colorado Department of Public Safety to annually produce a report regarding data associated with impaired driving in the state. One of the requirements was to include data not only for alcohol, but on other drugs to include marijuana. As with all longitudinal data, the more years a topic can be studied the greater the understanding of the issue.

 “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol” (Rosenthal & Reed) released in November 2020, is the third in the series of that report that allows for a multi-year look at the issue. It offers insight as to the growing prevalence marijuana has as related to highway safety matters and driving under the influence (DUI) under Colorado law. 

Key findings in this report include:

  • Total arrests for DUI in Colorado, from 2016 – 2018, declined by 3.6%
  • During the same time, positive drugs test results for marijuana in DUI cases increased by 15.5%
  • Alcohol and marijuana were the most common substances detected in DUI investigations
  • Nearly 50% of all screened DUI tests for marijuana exceeded the legal permissible inference limit of 5 nanograms
  • Crash rates were highest among drivers that tested positive for both alcohol and marijuana

Read Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Image: Unsplash / H. Busing