Men in their 20s most likely to drive under the influence according to Colorado study | AspenTimes.com

Men in their 20s most likely to drive under the influence according to Colorado study

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily

Men in their 20s are most likely to drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, a new study finds.

Men in their 20s are more likely to drive impaired than any other group, according to a new study.

The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice analyzed more than 27,000 driving under the influence cases filed in Colorado during 2016 — the first report of its kind in the nation.

The study, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol, tracks Colorado DUI offenses in 2016 from arrest through final court outcome and also examines data from probation.

Among the findings:

• Nearly 75 percent of defendants were males.

• Men in their 20s represented the largest group (8,011, or more than 30 percent).

• Males accounted for nearly 88 percent of felony cases and were more likely to have prior DUI offenses. Of those defendants with three or more prior offenses, 86 percent were male.

• People in their 20s had the highest rate of offenses, with impaired driving offenses peaking at age 24 for women and age 25 for men.

WORKING TO CURTAIL DUI

“The outcomes of the court cases show that our community takes DUI crimes seriously and that there are serious consequences for driving under the influence,” said Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. “Yet despite these consequences, it is concerning that nearly 38 percent of defendants had prior DUI convictions.”

Hilkey urged working together to find a way to keep men in their 20s through 40s from getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.

Almost a third of Colorado’s traffic fatalities involve drugs or alcohol, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“That is why efforts by law enforcement to enforce our state’s DUI laws are so critical,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s director of the Office of Transportation Safety.

CDOT is incentivizing Coloradans to buy their own breathalyzers, offering a 50 percent discountuntil Sept. 15.

ABOUT THE STUDY

Analysts with the Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics reviewed more than 27,000 case filings with at least one DUI charge and nearly 100,000 total charges associated with these cases in order to examine data such as:

• Offender demographics

• Toxicology results, including type of impairing substance and amount detected in the breath and/or bloodstream.

• Time elapsed from traffic stop to biological sample.

• Charges, final dispositions and associated traffic charges.

Recommended Stories For You

• Whether the incident resulted in fatalities or injuries.

The data has a one-year lag in order to allow enough time to follow most cases from their initial filing through final court disposition.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

DATA HIGHLIGHTS

• Nearly 75 percent of defendants were males; men in their 20s represented the largest group (8,011, or more than 30 percent).

• Males accounted for nearly 88 percent of felony cases and were more likely to have prior DUI offenses. Of those defendants with three or more prior offenses, 86 percent were male.

• People in their 20s had the highest rate of offenses, with rate of impaired driving offenses peaking at age 24 for women and age 25 for men.

• DUI charges result in high conviction rates: 88 percent of DUI cases resulted in the defendant being found guilty via a “guilty,” “deferred,” or “deferred dismissed” disposition. Meanwhile, fewer than 10 percent of cases were dismissed outright, and fewer than 1 percent of defendants were found not guilty.

• Nearly 38 percent of defendants had prior DUI convictions.

• About 26 percent of defendants were involved in a crash.

• 86.4 percent of suspects who had a toxicology screen were found to have one impairing substance present in their system, and nearly 13 percent had more than one substance present in their system. Only 1 percent were found to have no impairing substance in their system.

• Alcohol was by far the most common impairing substance detected in toxicology screens (91.3 percent). Marijuana was second at 6.2 percent. However, it is important to note that not all alcohol tests had a drug screen, and depending on which toxicology lab an agency uses, not all drugs are included in a drug screen.

• The majority of “polydrug” results stemmed from combining alcohol and marijuana (829), followed by marijuana and an additional drug (469). In 234 cases, suspects tested positive for alcohol, marijuana and at least one other substance.

• In addition to DUI or DWAI charges, the three most common charges associated with the cases were careless driving, lane usage violation and failure to display proof of insurance.

• Speeding was in the top five most common non-drug charges associated with marijuana-impaired drivers.

• Large metropolitan districts with large populations had the greatest number of impaired driving case filings.

• The top three arresting agencies were the Colorado State Patrol (statewide highway jurisdiction), Denver Police and Aurora Police.

The full study can be found online at colorado.gov/dcj-ors.