Spring is upon us, giving Coloradans everywhere a reason to celebrate. But in case your next spring celebration includes alcohol or marijuana, know that law enforcement will be on heightened alert to keep impaired drivers off the road. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in The Heat Is OnSpring Events DUI enforcement period. The enforcement period will continue for more than five weeks, through Monday, May 14.
"A lot is happening in the springtime, such as graduation parties, concerts, 4/20 celebrations, the start of baseball season, just to name a few. These events have historically given people a reason to drink or consume cannabis," said Darrell Lingk, Director of CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "We're urging folks to keep your friends and family from getting behind the wheel if they're impaired. This is everyone's responsibility."
In 2017, a whopping 1,958 drivers werecited by law enforcement across the state for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs during the five-week spring DUI enforcement -- an increase from 1,555 in 2016. CDOT, CSP and law enforcement want people to know that there is absolutely zero tolerance for drivers impaired by any substance. The cost of a DUI can total over $13,500 when considering fines, legal fees and insurance costs, not to mention it puts lives at risk.
"It's our job to protect Coloradans. We will be out in full force to make sure impaired drivers stay off the roads. Even after a couple of drinks, you become a risk to yourself and others if you get behind the wheel." said Col. Matthew Packard, Chief of the CSP. "We can't stress this enough -- the cost of a ride home is minimal compared to the personal and financial costs of a DUI."
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.