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Memorial Day DUI enforcement underway

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As Colorado slowly loosens stay-at-home restrictions, the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol are reminding people in Colorado to drive sober during Memorial Day weekend. The Heat Is On high-visibility enforcement period kicked off Friday and will continue through Tuesday.

Seventy-five law enforcement agencies are participating in the heightened enforcement campaign with increased patrols across the state. Those enjoying Memorial Day festivities away from home are encouraged to plan for a sober ride if they intend to consume alcohol or other impairing substances.

“Safety on Colorado’s roadways isn’t just CDOT’s goal – it should be a focus for every single person on the road,” said Shoshana Lew, Executive Director of CDOT. “Your safety and the safety of those around you are at stake when you drive impaired. All of us want to make it home safely, so don’t jeopardize that by driving impaired.”

During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend DUI enforcement period, law enforcement agencies arrested 323 impaired motorists. Last May alone, there were 16 impairment-related fatalities on Colorado’s roads.

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.

"Memorial Day is a day to remember military personnel who died while serving the country.  It also tends to be associated with increased travel and alcohol consumption due to the long weekend.  We want Coloradans to be safe, maintain social distancing practices, and make the decision to never drive impaired," said Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  "Plan ahead for a sober ride if you are celebrating away from home."

The Heat Is On will be back with its Summer Blitz DUI enforcement from June 12-22. During last year’s summer enforcement, 585 citations were given to impaired drivers. The summer months and holiday weekends traditionally show an increase in DUI crashes and arrests. Law enforcement is always on the lookout for impaired drivers and working to keep Colorado roads safe.