St. Patrick's Day is typically reserved for green garb, but for impaired drivers, flashing blue and red lights could ultimately be the day's most memorable colors. To keep Colorado roads safe from impaired drivers during St. Patrick's Day celebrations, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will conduct The Heat Is On DUI enforcement starting Friday, March 10, and ending Monday, March 20. Statewide, 88 law enforcement agencies will participate in the DUI crackdown for alcohol and drugs.
"It's no secret that for many, alcohol is a major component of St. Patrick's Day celebrations," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "We hope people plan a sober ride home before they start drinking and use DUI-prevention tools like smartphone breathalyzers and ride sharing apps to make educated decisions."
Last year, 106 Colorado law enforcement agencies arrested 455 motorists during the St. Patrick's Day enforcement period -- a nearly 10 percent decrease from the 505 arrests during the 2015 enforcement.
"The decrease in DUI arrests during last year's enforcement was promising, but 455 DUI arrests indicates that there are still far too many people driving impaired," said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "People need to realize that even one drink can impair your ability to drive. Troopers are on the lookout for impaired drivers every day, all day, all night, across the entire state. The consequences of driving impaired are not worth the risk."
In addition to the serious safety risks associated with impaired driving, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.
CDOT's R-U-Buzzed app is another useful DUI-prevention tool. The app allows users to track their blood alcohol content (BAC) level based on information they enter -- weight, gender and the number and type of drinks consumed in a given time. The app compares the user's estimated BAC with Colorado's DUI and DWAI laws, and includes a "Back to Zero" estimate, which approximates when the user will be completely sober after they stop drinking. Download the R-U-Buzzed app for iPhone and Android FREE: onelink.to/r-u-buzzed.
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.