435 Impaired Drivers Blitzed During Summer DUI Enforcement
While families and friends celebrate America's independence with food, drinks and festive activities, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 98 local law enforcement agencies will collaborate to ensure roads are clear from impaired drivers. Law enforcement will increase vigilance for the Fourth of July DUI enforcement period from June 30 to July 5 as part of The Heat Is On campaign. Last year, 312 impaired drivers were arrested during the same enforcement period.
"More vehicles tend to be on the roads during the summer, especially during the Fourth of July weekend, and that unfortunately means more impaired drivers," said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "Sixty-five people were killed last summer because of alcohol-related crashes. Too often people think they are fine to drive after a couple drinks but often they are not. If someone is impaired to the slightest degree, they can be arrested."
Last year, June, July and August recorded the highest monthly totals for alcohol-related fatalities in Colorado, with 21, 22 and 22 respectively. Of the 22 alcohol-related crashes in July 2016, three occurred on the Fourth of July.
"When it comes to impaired driving, there is only one acceptable choice, and that's to find a sober ride home," said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the CSP. "The cost of a sober ride is thousands of dollars cheaper than paying for a DUI, and could save your life and the lives of others."
Aside from the serious safety risks associated with driving impaired, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.
The Fourth of July enforcement is the eighth of 14 The Heat Is On DUI enforcement periods. The previous enforcement, Summer Blitz, arrested 435 impaired drivers from June 16 to June 26. A total of 64 agencies participated in the enforcement period. Denver Police Department (56 arrests), Colorado Springs Police Department (56 arrests) and Aurora (45 arrests) recorded the highest arrest totals. CSP contributed an additional 37 arrests.
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.