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State patrol out in force

Naomi Havlen

If it seems like more state troopers are out on Highway 82 lately, you’re right.

For the last two months, the Colorado State Patrol has stationed additional troopers along the Roaring Fork Valley’s busiest highway during rush hour, with the goal of eliminating most traffic accidents in the area.

According to Capt. Barry Bratt of the Colorado State Patrol’s Glenwood Springs office, it’s an ongoing project that started two years ago when Highway 82 was identified as a roadway that needed additional traffic enforcement to reduce accidents.

“We’re now looking at the area and determining when the most accidents are happening so we can try and match troopers up with those times,” Bratt said. “If we’re there with a clear presence of enforcement, we might change driving behavior so the accidents don’t occur.”

The entire stretch of Highway 82 through the Roaring Fork Valley is part of the increased enforcement.

During the month of April, Bratt said troopers gave out 74 speeding violations, five alcohol-related tickets, three tickets for following too closely, seven lane violations and 102 seat-belt violations just in the stretch of Highway 82 between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

This push in enforcement is part of a paradigm shift within the Colorado State Patrol. In June 2003, Col. Mark Trostel was named the chief of the State Patrol and set a long-term goal of eliminating most traffic fatalities in Colorado by 2025.

“Colorado Target Zero” is how the patrol plans to reach this goal. The traffic law-enforcement campaign officially will be kicked off this Memorial Day week, between May 25 and 31.

Essentially, the campaign involves putting every uniformed member of the state patrol on the road, Bratt said, in hopes that enough of an impact can be made that not one person in Colorado is killed in a traffic accident.

Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said his department will participate in the campaign, with extra police officers on patrol over Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re going to pull out all the stops too,” Ryerson said. “We feel that no one is against the end to all traffic deaths in the state. It’s an admirable thing they’re doing to get everyone out of the office and onto the streets to help out.”

The state patrol will also re-start their “click it or ticket” campaign in the coming week to reinforce statewide seat-belt laws, as well as have checkpoints for driving under the influence periodically throughout the summer, Bratt said.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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