The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law agencies are joining forces under The Heat Is On campaign to crack down on impaired drivers for the annual Labor Day DUI crackdown. Eighty-two law enforcement agencies from across the state are participating in the effort. The enforcement period begins, Friday, Aug. 19, and runs through Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Last year's Labor Day enforcement cited 1,030 impaired drivers, an average of 54 arrests per day. This number was the third highest arrest total of CDOT's 12 enforcement periods in 2015. The Denver Police Department (154 arrests), Aurora Police Department (113 arrests) and Colorado Springs Police Department (93 arrests) recorded the highest arrest totals.
Also, in 2015 there were 47 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in August (23) and September (24), the two highest monthly totals for the year. The fatalities in those two months alone accounted for 25 percent of the yearly total.
"CDOT is concerned about impaired driving fatalities year-round, but data indicates people tend to drive impaired more in August and September than any other time of year," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "We ask that people plan accordingly to avoid drinking and driving. And a warning to impaired drivers on the road, law enforcement is on high alert and prepared to make DUI arrests."
"Over the years, the Labor Day enforcement has taken thousands of impaired drivers off the road," said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of CSP. "Troopers from across the state will be working overtime to protect the roads from impaired drivers, ensuring Coloradans can enjoy the end of the summer safely."
In addition to the Labor Day enforcement, CDOT continues its summer breathalyzer program to gather information about drinking behavior and determine if mobile breathalyzers are a useful resource in preventing alcohol impaired driving. CDOT partnered with BACtrack, a leading breathalyzer company, and selected 225 volunteers from more than 1,500 submissions. Participants have the opportunity to track their BACs and help CDOT gauge the effectiveness of breathalyzers, completing three surveys about drinking patterns, driving and breathalyzers.
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. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.