Posted in Blog on December 16, 2015
As reported by KOAA 5 News, 56-year-old Carol Gallegos was recently arrested for attempted murder and drunk driving after she allegedly slammed her van into a house repeatedly, which almost resulted in a wall collapsing on a mother and two children inside. Gallegos reportedly fled the scene, ran a red light at 21st and Cimarron Streets in Colorado Springs, and caused a four car accident as a result.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time a drunk driver has rammed a home in the state. According to Fox31 Denver, in 2014, 18-year-old Jorge Lopez was charged with DUI and careless driving after crashing into a garage and damaging two homes on South Chelton Road. The same news outlet also covered the October 2015 case of young driver Gunner Bolstad, who was driving under the influence when he crashed into a Parker home and injured a 70-year-old man inside.
Drunk driving is a serious problem across the country, and Colorado is certainly no exception. The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that more than 240 people are killed and 4,000 people suffer serious injuries in alcohol-related vehicles crashes in the state. Colorado has responded by stepping up its enforcement of drunk-driving cases, incentivizing the use of interlock devices with convicted drunk drivers and passing a new law in June of 2015 that made a person’s fourth DUI charge a potential felony. MADD notes that while Colorado’s drunk driving deaths have dropped by 19 percent thanks to its actions, driving under the influence is still responsible for close to 30 percent of the total traffic deaths there.
Nationwide statistics are equally grim. MADD Colorado notes that more than 10,000 people died and an estimated 290,000 were injured in drunk driving-related accidents in 2013 alone.
The impact of driving while drunk isn’t limited to just pain, suffering and property damage. There is also a far-reaching financial cost. Data complied by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation back in 2012 estimated drunk drinking has a price tag that exceeds $132 billion annually, and it’s something that even people who were not involved in an accident might end up paying in some way. Accidents drive up auto insurance costs in a way that is often passed onto all consumers in the form of premium increases. Road signs, car rails and EMS personnel are funded by tax dollars, and the cost of processing offenders through the court system also adds to the overall taxpayer tally. MADD estimates that the cost of drunk driving to taxpayers in Colorado is around $752 million annually.