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‘The Road Warrior’ mailbag; Colorado State Patrol responds to viewer questions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A state trooper visited KRDO 13 this week to answer a variety of questions posed by viewers in the fifth month of The Road Warrior coverage.

Many of the topics posed to Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Patrick Rice relate to why there isn't more enforcement of traffic violations such as speeding or tailgating.

Rice explained that a statewide shortage of troopers limits the amount of patrols and enforcement by the state patrol.

"I think we're about a third short," he said. "We're slated for about 750 troopers across the state, and I think we're about 30% below that. But we're going to get a boost from that pretty soon with the academy classes that will be graduating."

A common viewer question is why more isn't done to stop drivers from running the red lights at the ramp meters along many entrance ramps on Interstate 25 through the city; the Colorado Department of Transportation installed them in the fall of 2020 to ease traffic congestion by regulating highway entry during peak periods.

"Those are very situational," he said. "I've never heard of us sitting out by those and looking for that violation, specifically driving by or behind a vehicle. And we see those violations. Those are the times when we take the opportunity to talk with those drivers. There's never a cop around when you need one, right? So, people see these violations and they think that we're not doing anything, but we're out there looking for things like that."

Rice added that Colorado Springs police and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office also have the authority to conduct enforcement at the ramp meters.

Another topic is one which, besides potholes and paving, produced the most feedback from viewers: Why thousands of drivers continue to drive with expired license plate tags that expired months -- or even years -- ago.

That topic was the subject of a special report by The Road Warrior a month ago.

Among suggestions from viewers: Why is there no required time period for drivers to renew their tags after being cited for violations; why can't the drivers' licenses of violators be suspended or revoked as a deterrent; and how can drivers report the violations that they see?

"That's something that really is up (to the) Legislature creating a new law that would impose a time frame like that," Rice said. "I think if (the) Legislature created that law, it would be something that we could easily enforce, just like we already do enforce the registration laws. It would just be, in addition to that, something more -- probably another sheet of paper, I would imagine that we would hand them, saying: You have X number of days set by legislature from today to to get your vehicle registered. But without that law in place by our elected officials, it's not something that we could ever just impose on drivers on our own."

He said that people can report expired tags that they see to local law enforcement agencies.

"But the law only covers moving vehicles," he said. "It doesn't cover vehicles that are parked on the street, in driveways or on private property."

The Road Warrior mailbag will be a recurring feature on KRDO 13.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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