Law enforcement agencies across the state cited 1184 impaired drivers during the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) The Heat Is On Labor Day DUI enforcement period, which ran from August 18 through September 5. This number represents an increase from the same period last year, which reported 964 DUI arrests.
"Summer is one of the busiest seasons for law enforcement, especially as it relates to DUI arrests and impaired fatalities," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "While summer is coming to an end, the emphasis on preventing impaired driving is still a top priority across the state as fall approaches."
Among the 121 agencies that participated in the enforcement, Colorado Springs Police Department (106 arrests), Aurora Police Department (93 arrests) and Denver Police Department (88 arrests) recorded the highest arrest totals. In addition, the Colorado State Patrol made 161 arrests.
Up next, CDOT and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) will launch a five-week Fall Festivals DUI enforcement period starting on Friday, September 15 through October 23. Fall brings football games, tailgates and beer festivals, along with other events traditionally linked to alcohol consumption. Last year, 1,498 drivers were arrested for DUI during the fall enforcement period.
"CSP and local law enforcement have zero tolerance for impaired drivers," said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the CSP. "Holding friends and family accountable for driving impaired could save their lives, or the lives of other drivers and pedestrians on Colorado's roads. One impaired driver can drastically change the lives of many people."
Each year, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI, and more than one-third of all Colorado traffic fatalities are alcohol related. Beyond the serious safety risks associated with impaired driving, a DUI can cost a person more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.
To help prevent impaired driving, CDOT launched an innovative new statewide effort as part of The Heat Is On to equip Coloradans with personal breathalyzers. The campaign, Before You Go, Know, urges people to check their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to confirm they are sober before they get behind the wheel. CDOT is partnering with BACtrack, a leading personal breathalyzer company, to offer 20 percent off breathalyzer products through the end of September. Visit HeatIsOnColorado.com or BACtrack.com and use the code "CDOT" for a 20 percent discount and free shipping.
The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 14 specific, high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.