Thursday, January 2, 2014

CO State Patrol: New focus on teen drivers

During 2014, the Colorado State Patrol will focus on preventing and stopping impaired drivers on Colorado roadways. While the agency's commitment remains consistent with much of the its 78-year history, the execution of Troopers' enforcement operations will be tailored to the varying needs of communities across the state.

"Our family has been protecting your family since 1935," said Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "We trust our Troopers to develop and implement local strategies because they're active participants in their communities."

Motorists may see an increased Trooper presence on roadways during times other than the usual holiday enforcement periods, as local troop offices assess factors such as traffic volume, crash totals and causal factors, and citation/arrest data in their regions.

And while enforcement continues to play a major role in the Colorado State Patrol's strategic plan, Troopers also will utilize educational opportunities and community programs to prevent impaired driving before it occurs. Developing such partnerships is integral to the Colorado State Patrol's success in the new year.

"The greatest victory we could see in 2014 is an increase in voluntary compliance, in the number of motorists who make smart, responsible decisions," Hernandez said. "The responsibility for stopping impaired driving before it starts ultimately rests with the public, and more and more people have risen to that challenge."

Additionally, Troopers will interact more frequently with high schools and youth programs, emphasizing good decision-making and responsible actions at an early age.

"We must afford young adults the incredible educational opportunities that our Troopers can provide," Hernandez said. "Making good, smart decisions is a learned behavior, and we owe it to Colorado's youth to prepare them for a safer future."

In the immediate future, the Colorado State Patrol will partner with other law enforcement agencies to increase patrols targeting impaired drivers on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Media members are encouraged to request ride-along opportunities to gain an in-depth view of law enforcement's efforts to stop impaired driving.