While many Coloradans kicked off summer over Memorial Day weekend, others started it with a DUI. As part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's The Heat Is On campaign, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement launched the annual Memorial Day DUI enforcement period to protect motorists from impaired drivers on Colorado roads. As a result, 231 impaired drivers were arrested during the holiday weekend enforcement period, which is a decrease from the 323 arrests made during this enforcement in 2019.
"When you get behind the wheel, you're not only in control of your own safety, your actions impact the safety of everyone around you," said Shoshana Lew, executive director at CDOT. "Just as we are all doing our part to protect each other during this pandemic, we need to protect each other on the road and that means eliminating impaired driving."
Statewide, 84 law enforcement agencies participated in the Memorial Day enforcement period, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (27 arrests) and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (22 arrests) recording the highest arrest totals. CSP arrested an additional 64 DUI offenders across the state.
"Safety and wellness have always been at the core of Colorado State Patrol's values," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP. "We have always been on high alert to keep Coloradans safe on state roads. Unfortunately, that meant arresting 64 motorists for driving impaired this Memorial Day weekend. We want Coloradans to remember that, although Governor Polis has issued a Safer at Home order and fewer drivers may be on the roads, driving impaired is always prohibited, so plan for a sober ride home--no matter what."
An average of 60 impaired drivers are arrested for DUI in Colorado every day. The Colorado blood-alcohol (BAC) limit for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is 0.08 percent or higher, and for a Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) charge, it is 0.05 percent or higher. First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. However, a driver can be charged with a DUI if their alcohol content is anywhere above zero. CDOT encourages all drivers who have consumed any amount of alcohol to refrain from driving.
The Heat Is On will return for the Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period from June 12-22.