Letter: New year doesn’t always mean a second chance when it comes to impaired driving

The holiday season is in full swing. Oftentimes, along with the holidays comes revelry and merry-making. Sometimes one eggnog leads to many more. There are few quicker ways to destroy the promise of a new year than to get a DUI or to harm the life of another person in a crash.

With increased enforcement through New Year’s Day in Eagle County, it’s more likely than not that impaired drivers will be caught. December 2017 statistics from the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles show 96 percent of impaired driving suspects have their driver’s licenses revoked, regardless of whether they are ever convicted of a DUI in court.

As one of the Colorado Persistent Drunk Driver Committee’s NoDUIColorado Communities, Eagle River Youth Coalition is working to address safe driving issues in Eagle County. We support education and prevention, as well as enforcement of DUI that will make our community safer.

Do your part. If you think you might have a drink or consume marijuana this New Year’s Eve, I implore you to make a plan to get home safely. Use a designated driver, taxi, local buses or ride-sharing service. Look out for each other: If you see someone who needs a little help getting home, help them out.

Eagle River Youth Coalition is committed to keeping drivers and passengers safe all year round and would like to thank everyone who helps keep the roads and our families safe, especially our first responders, including local law enforcement jurisdictions, the Eagle County Paramedics and medical providers.

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Our goal as a community coalition is to fill gaps and share information about services. While some of us fully enjoy the holidays, others of us are swept up in grief, loneliness and dark thoughts. There has been a rash of suicides in Eagle County this past year, and local youth are reporting depression and suicide attempts at shocking rates, including 16 percent of local middle schoolers seriously considering suicide (2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey).

If you think someone is struggling, needs a hand or a hug, we implore you to reach out. While it might feel awkward to you, you could save a life just by showing you care, and that is worth any amount of awkwardness. Visit for resources from a valuable community agency, and keep this number in mind; it just might save a life: 800-273-8255.

Thanks to all of our community partners who provide assistance as we welcome in 2018.

Michelle Stecher

Executive director, Eagle River Youth Coalition

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