Summer officially arrives Tuesday and, with the start of the season, increased DUI patrols across Colorado have also begun. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies are teaming up to crack down on impaired drivers during The Heat Is On Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period from June 16 through June 26.
In 2016, June, July and August recorded the highest number of monthly roadway fatalities involving impaired drivers during the year, with 21, 22 and 22 fatalities respectively. This accounts for 31 percent of all roadway fatalities (207) during this timeframe.
"Historically, summer in Colorado is marked by an increase in impaired driving arrests," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "Working with CSP and law enforcement partners, our goal is to keep Coloradans safe by removing impaired drivers and eliminating alcohol-related deaths on our roads this summer."
During the 10-day Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period, drivers can expect additional patrols, checkpoints and extra officers on duty looking for impaired drivers. Across the state, 83 law enforcement agencies are participating.
"Summer is the deadliest season on Colorado's roads, in part because of impaired drivers who choose to get behind the wheel," said Colonel Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "An average of 77 impaired drivers are arrested in Colorado every day -- a number that could be reduced to zero if everyone simply planned ahead and designated a sober ride."
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.
The Heat Is On will return for the Fourth of July DUI enforcement period from June 30 to July 5.
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.