CDOT urges residents to be safe on Halloween

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Safety tips

For a safer Halloween:

• Designate a sober driver before going out, and give that person the keys.

• If you are impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

• Always buckle up - it's the best defense against an impaired driver.

• If you know someone is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and help make other arrangements.

• Motorists can report drunk and aggressive drivers by calling STAR-CSP (*277), a free call.

Source: Colorado Department of Transportation

— Don't let Halloween turn into a nightmare.

Those are the precautionary words issued by the Colorado Department of Transportation for state residents planning to celebrate the holiday Wednesday.

"Halloween should be a time for scary costumes, trick-or-treating with the kids and good family fun," said Pam Hutton, CDOT governor's representative for highway safety. "But, unfortunately, Halloween has also become a very dangerous and deadly time of the year due to impaired driving."

CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol and more than 60 state agencies filed plans for increased patrols and checkpoints throughout the six-day holiday period, from Friday to Thursday.

"There are a lot more people out celebrating the holiday, including adults," CDOT spokeswoman Heather Halpape said. "This is a time of year we like to do special enforcement. We'd just like to remind people to buckle up, be safe and please, please do not drink and drive."

Area agencies participating include the Hayden and Steamboat Springs police departments, and Routt and Rio Blanco counties' sheriff's offices.

Although the Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff's Office are not participating, representatives from both law enforcement agencies said extra attention would be paid to their jurisdictions on Halloween.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said the normal complement of deputies would be on duty for Halloween. The deputies' emphasis will be on areas where kids are trick-or-treating.

"We want to make sure our presence is seen in those areas," Jantz said.

Capt. Jerry DeLong, of the Craig Police Department, said the department would attempt to have officers on foot patrols in areas such as downtown Craig and near the Centennial Mall - normally two high-volume areas for kids trick-or-treating.

"We'll try to have more officers out and get them walking," he said.

About 41 percent of all highway fatalities on Halloween night involve a driver with an above-the-legal-limit Blood Alcohol Concentration, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Last year, 217 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Colorado, with 17 percent of the victims under age 21.

A similar Halloween traffic enforcement campaign netted 562 arrests for driving under the influence across the state. Violators often face jail time, loss of driver's license, alcohol-treatment classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000, CDOT reports.

In other news:

• A 15-year-old Craig girl, who was reported to have run away, was found Saturday in town. She had been missing since Wednesday afternoon.

Craig police reported the teenager was found unharmed and in good condition.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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