Fort Collins, Colorado– TEAM Wellness & Prevention, in partnership with multiple stakeholders in the community has completed a Larimer County Drunk & Impaired Driving Community Needs Assessment as part of a Persistent Drunk Driving- Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant awarded by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health.
This report is part of a 5 year project to reduce incidents of drunk and impaired driving across all of Larimer County. Larimer County is one of 3 communities in the State of Colorado targeted in this grant project funded by the State. Eagle County and the Four Corners (La Plata/Montezuma/Dolores/San Counties) community are also participating in this grant project as a result of being identified at high risk communities for drunk and impaired driving.
Larimer County and specifically, Fort Collins was identified as one of the “drunkest cities” based on a November 2017 USA Today Report Alcohol abuse: The drunkest city in every state.
Drunkest city: Fort Collins
> MSA adults binge or heavy drinking: 21.0% (top 25%)
> State adults binge or heavy drinking: 19.1% (15th highest)
> Alcohol-related driving deaths: 30.6%
Home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is a midsize college city located along the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado’s Front Range. College students drink more than nearly any other group. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 3 in 5 U.S. college students aged 18 to 22 drink alcohol. In the Fort Collins metro area, some 11.6% of the population are enrolled in college or graduate school — nearly the largest share in Colorado — and 21.0% of adults drink to excess or binge drink, the largest share in the state.
The mission of this project is decrease the incidents of drunk and impaired driving across all of Larimer County. The vision of this project is to reduce DUI/DWAI offenses in Larimer County for the betterment of our constituents through the identification and mitigation of local risk factors within the target population.
Major findings in the Community Needs Assessment include:
- Fatalities where at least one driver impaired by alcohol or drugs was involved are steadily increasing over time.
- While local data remains elusive, due to ongoing advancements in research and enforcement tactics, state level data shows an increase in cannabis-involved traffic fatalities in Colorado.
- Fatalities specifically involving a driver with a BAC >.08g/ml are shown to have recent spikes in Larimer County, while remaining fairly steady at the state-level.
Additionally, key risk factors and target populations have been identified.
- White males who are aged 18-34 are at a higher risk for DUI/DWAI.
- A significant percentage of Larimer County high school students engage in driving while under the influence of marijuana.
- The return of college students to Colorado State University may be a trigger for increased DUI/DWAI offenses as Larimer County sees spikes in DUI offenses from September through October annually.
- Larimer County has an extremely high density of alcohol retailers and marijuana dispensaries in its most populated areas, especially in Fort Collins.
- Binge drinking occurs at a higher rate in Larimer County than the state average and these individuals are more likely to drive under the influence.
- There is a high level of difficulty for law enforcement to spot drugged drivers, specialized training is needed.
- Increased enforcement leads to increases in DUI/DWAI arrests, suggesting that there are offenders slipping through the cracks when law enforcement capacity or funding declines.
- Interlock devices are not a deterrent for marijuana and other drug offense.
- Public information does not take into account the high alcohol content in craft beer and novelty drinks.
The full Larimer County Drunk & Impaired Driving Community Needs Assessment can be found on TEAM’s website at www.teamwandp.org/pddleaf