While Coloradans across the state enjoyed St. Patrick's Day celebrations spanning two weekends, law enforcement was on high alert for impaired drivers as part of the The Heat Is On campaign. From March 10-20, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies combined efforts to arrest 607 impaired drivers, a 33 percent increase from the 455 arrests during last year's enforcement.
"Planning a safe ride is something every person should do before they drink alcohol or consume marijuana," said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "Unfortunately, some people choose to drive impaired despite the serious safety risks and financial and legal consequences."
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Colorado is 0.05 percent for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and 0.08 percent for driving under the influence (DUI). First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. On average, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.
Eight-three agencies participated in the enforcement, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (52 arrests), Denver Police Department (43 arrests) and Aurora Police Department (42 arrests) recording the highest arrest totals. In addition, the Colorado State Patrol made 139 arrests.
You can access all arrest results statewide. Arrest data can be sorted by county, law enforcement agency and enforcement period.
"Law enforcement is committed to keeping Colorado roads safe, and this means removing impaired drivers from behind the wheel," said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "It's unfortunate that 607 people chose to drive impaired, but lives were potentially saved by taking them off the road."
The Heat Is On campaign will return for the Spring Events enforcement on April 7. Last year, 1,555 impaired drivers were arrested during the nearly five-week enforcement effort.
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 12 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.