Traffic

El Paso County is on track to once again lead the state in traffic fatalities.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are partnering this weekend in an attempt to curb impaired driving.

As part of the nationwide “Saturation Saturday” campaign, deputies will actively enforce traffic starting Saturday through Labor Day weekend, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday. Many patrol vehicles will be decorated with a red ribbon to recognize victims and survivors of impaired driving.

“Impaired driving is 100% preventable,” spokeswoman Natalie Sosa said in the statement. “We encourage drivers to designate a sober driver, call a taxi or rideshare to get home safely.”

The Colorado Springs Police Department is combining its force with Colorado’s chapter of MADD, too. This Saturday, officers will increase its DUI patrols throughout the city “in hopes of emphasizing the importance of never driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said Paul Kavanaugh, who works in the department’s social media department.

El Paso County has had the most traffic deaths in the state over the past two years, with 77 in 2017 and 81 in 2018. Alcohol and drugs are a factor in many of those fatal crashes, the Sheriff’s Office said.

On Tuesday, officers found Jennifer Cleland, 46, and her crashed vehicle near the 2100 block of South Circle Drive. Her death was the city’s 29th traffic-related fatality this year. The cause of the single-car crash has not yet been determined.

In May, the Sheriff’s Office launched a separate initiative in efforts to drive those numbers down. Beginning in May, traffic enforcement was increased in at least two areas across the county’s eight districts. Data, including average vehicle speeds at certain dates and times, were collected for two months from each site.

The data will be used to pinpoint especially problematic areas and determine whether more enforcement is needed.

MAAD will team up with a total of 39 Colorado law enforcement agencies for "Saturation Saturday:"

• Aurora Police Department

• Basalt Police Department

• Blue River Police Department

• Boulder County Sheriff's Office

• Boulder Police Department

• Broomfield Police Department

• Canon City Police Department

• Carbondale Police Department

• Cherry Hills Village Police Department

• Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office

• Colorado Springs Police Department

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 1A/1E

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 1B/1C

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 2B

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 2C

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 2D

• Colorado State Patrol Troop 3A

• Commerce City Police Department

• Custer Ridge Police Department

• Denver Police Department

• Douglas County Sheriff's Office

• Eagle County Sheriff's Office

• El Paso County Sheriff's Office

• Erie Police Department

• Fountain Police Department

• Garfield County Sheriff's Office

• Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

• Lakewood Police Department

• Loveland Police Department

• Mesa County Sheriff's Office

• Oak Creek Police Department

• Pueblo Police Department

• Sheridan Police Department

• Steamboat Springs Police Department

• Summit County Sheriff's Office

• Vail Police Department

• Weld County Sheriff's Office

• Wheat Ridge Police Department

• Woodland Park Police Department

For more information about the initiative, visit epcsheriffs office.com/traffic-enforcement.

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com.

Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

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