Marijuana: Ratio of alcohol DUI busts to pot stops at weekend checkpoint was 21 to 1

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Since legal sales of recreational marijuana got underway on January 1, state agencies have made a big push in regard to so-called stoned driving. Witness the Colorado Department of Transportation's "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign, which features a series of public-service announcements with a light touch.

Data revealing the scope of the problem has been hard to come by, as we've been reporting for months. But this weekend, we got anecdotal evidence from a Larimer County checkpoint that driving under the influence of alcohol remains a much, much larger issue than does its drug-related counterpart.

Between 10:55 p.m. May 9 and 2:30 a.m. May 10, according to the Fort Collins Police Department, the FCPD, working in conjunction with the Larimer County DUI Task Force, hosted a DUI sobriety checkpoint as part of CDOT's ongoing efforts.

Participating agencies also included the Colorado State Patrol, the Larimer County District Attorney's Office, the Loveland Police Department, the Colorado State University Police Department, the Estes Park Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and assorted health facilities in Poudre County.

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A file photo of a DUI checkpoint in Denver this past July.
During the period in which the checkpoint was operational, 1,572 vehicles were contacted, resulting in 22 arrests.

Of those busts, twenty of them were for either driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired, with one more made for minor in consumption.

In addition, law enforcers cuffed one individual for possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by a person under 21.

Were any of the DUI and DWAI arrests for marijuana? Typically, such matters are referred to as DUID or DWAID, with the last letter in each acronym standing for "drugs." Be we wanted to make sure the two offenses hadn't been lumped together -- and a Fort Collins police spokesman confirms that, to his knowledge, 21 of the 22 arrests were alcohol-related.

Since these figures are from a single checkpoint, they can't be more broadly extrapolated; they qualify as anecdotal. But in this case, alcohol arrests led marijuana busts 21 to one -- and the single exception involved underage possession, not driving under the influence of cannabis.

We'll continue seeking out more numbers related to the alcohol and drug-related DUIs. In this instance, however, there was no comparison.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa January 13: "Marijuana: Are new pot smokers an even bigger danger when they drive high?"


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94 comments
Baphomet
Baphomet

Too bad CHECKPOINTS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS FUCK...

If you allow police to direct you during a checkpoint on a public roadway, you are an idiot.

Jaun Smith
Jaun Smith

So you traded legal weed for a police State.... The illegal weed taste better.

Lucas Jamison
Lucas Jamison

revenue driven...until they can accurately test for the recent consumption of marijuana...it is all about money...I think the industry needs to help out its customers and spend money on finding a more accurate way to test...and lobbying against the unfair and completely bogus laws against it now...dont get me wrong I dont agree with smoking and driving but when you go to jail cause you have pot in your car and you are a daily smoker, so of course you will fail the test, thats BS...and when it comes down to it, pot just like alcohol will be funding there department...they arent interested in accurate testing or accurate field sobriety testing...they just want the money..."saving lives" is a cherry on top...ok I think Im done for now

Heather Cochrane
Heather Cochrane

What about the 1550 people that they wasted their time.Check points are just the cops trapping citizens going about their business, while the real drunks or high drivers are causing issues elsewhere.

Haven Holmes
Haven Holmes

What about accidents caused by people focused on stoned driving? Probably not that big of deal, just felt like throwing a silly argue out there. At the same time, half of Denver drove stoned long before pot was legal. I still feel safe. I think the main cause of most accidents in the city are caused by people who care about getting somewhere at a certain time more than they care about someone's life.

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

Actually, statistically driving while tired is the greater threat.

Bryan Moberg
Bryan Moberg

driving high is barely even a thing, and only affects a very small percentage of users, a drunk driver is ALWAYS a drunk driver, enforcing driving high is a complete waste of time and nothing more than a cash grab for the cops.

Kevin Kohl
Kevin Kohl

Can we just call alcohol a drug and stop putting it as a seperate catagory. Or is that too much to ask?

Blendrix Live
Blendrix Live

They need to enforce the laws on the books. If the law says high driving is illegal, they need to pull over and cite drivers who exhibit the signs of being high. Same for alcohol. If we want any chance at keeping our new law from being repealed, we NEED to enforce it just as meticulously as any other law.

Bëach Boii
Bëach Boii

Of course cuz how u suppose to kno when a niggah high. . . Cuz most the time everybody gets cross faded anyways

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Yes, there just looking for money and hiding behind fear tactics preaching safety...

James Taveirne
James Taveirne

A compound or substance that has been purified or prepared . That is a chemical. If you want to smoke...do it! I have no beef with that. I find smokers to be way more chill . I don't smoke....but I drink. Is drinking more dangerous behind the wheel? Depends on the person . All I'm saying is that know one should drive any vehicle while using a mind altering substance. Any substance!

Pete Copeland
Pete Copeland

something like that. although the technology isn't there yet. improve the technology, make it standard.

Alexa Gomez
Alexa Gomez

Like a built in breathalizer [spell check]

Latifah Abdul'laah
Latifah Abdul'laah

There's more drinkers than smokers, even though the drunk drivers are much more dangerous.

David Novin
David Novin

Weed is a chemical? That's news to me!

Marcus Netters
Marcus Netters

James what about the people driving scared? Or recently played burnout/need for speed or watched an Transporter/fast and furious film. all shouldn't be driving. And yet

Anthony Atencio
Anthony Atencio

They "The state of Colorado" aint getting the funding they once had for locking people up for marijuana charges, So they got to find another way to make up for it!!! "Driving well stoned" smh

Marcus Netters
Marcus Netters

People been driving high forever. You know why it was never a issue? Their motion controls were never impaired, no vertigo/wavy effect. Worst thing about driving high: I drive to slow to get to where I need to be and the drunk/sober Assholes behind me in a rush. Then later im laughing cause they pulled over or up in a tree.

Pete Copeland
Pete Copeland

Any chemicals is going to be hard. This is America.

Aaron Rever
Aaron Rever

No more prescriptions while driving! :)

James Taveirne
James Taveirne

You should not drive while influenced by any chemicals !

Pete Copeland
Pete Copeland

Just make cars so you can't drive them under the influence. It's 2014, this shouldn't be difficult.

Charlie Whiskey
Charlie Whiskey

Why does it take TRAINING for cops to spot a stoned driver when drunk drivers are usually pretty damn obvious.

Brandon Malone
Brandon Malone

Alcohol is way worse. Driving high is getting over-exaggerated.

Betty Miller
Betty Miller

I think both problems should be pursued equally by police.

Tamara Munroe
Tamara Munroe

What are the stats on combined pot and alcohol?

Carl Pitman
Carl Pitman

always gonna be the idiots that booze it up and drive,

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.


## Number of Stoners in FATAL ACCIDENTS skyrockets in Colorado! ##


AURORA, Colo. — A study by the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows the proportion of marijuana-positive drivers involved in fatal vehicle accidents in Colorado has increased dramatically since the commercialization of medical marijuana in the middle of 2009, researchers announced Thursday.


Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1994 to 2011, researchers looked at fatal car accidents in Colorado and the 34 states that didn’t have medical marijuana laws.


They found fatal car crashes in Colorado with at least one driver who tested positive for marijuana was 4.5 percent in the first six months of 1994. In the last six months of 2011, that percentage had jumped to 10 percent. 


The researchers found no major changes over the same time in the proportion of drivers in fatal crashes in which drivers were alcohol-impaired.


Lead study author Stacy Salomonsen-Sautel said the study raises concerns and shows a need for better education and prevention programs to curb impaired driving.

anonymouse
anonymouse

Of the 1,572 veichles that were contacted how many innocents were harassed for their papers in naziland?

Adam Gostenik
Adam Gostenik

Just so that everyone is aware, if you are being routed into a checkpoint, (and wouldn't pass), you can pull over immediately, before you enter the checkpoint, turn off your car, and walk away. Your car may be towed. But Police do not have the right, per se, to check driver's licenses or registrations when the stop is not initiated by a violation and at that point, they had not even initiated the stop yet. It might seem like you're guilty of something, but since you are no longer in your car and haven't violated any laws, you just walk off.

Becca Mertens
Becca Mertens

Drunk drivers run stop signs- stoned drivers wait for them to turn green! Lol

Stephen Felt
Stephen Felt

Alcohol still the bad boy yet its totally legal. Makes sense.

David Novin
David Novin

You people are stupid! You're saying that ONE arrest is enough to make pot illegal? This one arrest wasn't even for being under the influence. It was possession. How about we make alcohol illegal? 21 people busted for DUI? What is enough for that? 1,000 DUI arrests? Yes this might be anecdotal numbers, but the numbers don't lie. 1 pot smoker on the road not causing an accident for every 21 people drinking and driving? Christ. Alcohol is way scarier than marijuana ever will be!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... perhaps it should be called "medicine" ... like marijuana?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@anonymouse  ... only those submissive sycophantic sheeple who spend their time begging for Government Regulation.

anonymouse
anonymouse

also where are all the checkpoints after a sports games? If the police really wanted to "crack down" on duis then set em up at the parking lot exits after a football game.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Unless you're visibly intoxicated as you wobble off, then the cops would have reasonable suspicion to initiate contact and infer the rest.

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