Craig briefs: More DUI enforcement to ring in new year
Once again, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol will team up with 76 law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado to increase DUI enforcement through Thursday. During last year’s New Year’s Eve enforcement period, 501 people were arrested on Colorado roadways for DUI and there were two alcohol-related fatalities.
The enforcement period follows the most recent crackdown surrounding this year’s holiday parties, which spanned from Dec. 6 through Dec. 16 and resulted in 652 arrests. Preliminary data shows that there were two alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities from the same period.
“New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the year that’s past and to look forward to the future,” said Amy Ford, director of communications at CDOT. “It marks the beginning of a new year with endless possibilities. Historically, it can also be a very dangerous time to be on the roads and we want to do everything we can to keep Coloradans safe.”
In 2012, there were 9,784 DUI arrests reported through The Heat is On campaign — a number much higher than Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, wants to see as 2013 comes to a close.
The average blood alcohol content of all DUI arrests in 2012 was 0.18 — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, emphasizes that this further stresses the importance of not putting others in danger by driving impaired.
The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. More details about the campaign, including DUI enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips, can be found at http://www.heatisoncolorado.com.
Commission approves 2014 fishing regulations
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the 2014 fishing regulations and took other regulatory action during its November meeting in Lamar, according to a press release. Commissioners also began the two-step process of setting general regulations for 2014, including a potential ban on the use of drones for hunting or scouting in Colorado.
The newly adopted fishing regulations for 2014 will take effect with the April 1 start of the fishing license year. The new regulations add tiger trout and cutbow to the list of game fish in the state and apply daily bag and possession limits for those species. The regulations also restrict fishing methods and harvest on designated cutthroat trout conservation waters in the state. New regulations also seek to encourage harvest by removing bag and possession limits on brown trout on the Dolores River below the Bradfield Bridge, for yellow perch at Spinney Mountain Reservoir and for walleye in Stagecoach Reservoir.
Commissioners also set the 2014 regulations for turkey hunting in the state. The changes approved include regulations opening private-land hunting in Game Management Units 91 and 92 to over-the-counter in the spring; added youth-only spring turkey licenses in GMUs 91, 92, 96, 101 and 102; and add private-land-only spring bearded turkey licenses in GMU 444.
In other action, commissioners approved the 2014 commission meeting calendar, which included the elimination of monthly meetings in February and October as part of the effort to reduce spending. Additional spending cuts were discussed that will help Parks and Wildlife trim the agency budget by $9.9 million beginning in fiscal year 2014, which begins in July. Commissioners also approved the final “Path Forward” document, a strategic planning document for Parks and Wildlife that will be provided to the Legislature as part of the requirements of the legislation that merged Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Parks and Wildlife hunter education staff provided commission members with an update about national trends in hunter education and discussed possible improvements to the Colorado hunter education program. A survey of recent hunter education graduates in Colorado will be analyzed in December, but initial results show high satisfaction by program graduates. Potential changes to the hunter education program will be analyzed and discussed further with a final proposal back to the commission in March.
Colorado statutes require anyone born after Jan. 1, 1949, to complete a hunter education class before buying or applying for a hunting license in Colorado. The statute was implemented in the 1970s and dramatically has reduced hunter injuries and fatalities in the state. With more than 300,000 hunters every year in the state, hunting ranks as one of the safest forms of outdoor recreation.