As Thanksgiving motorists flock Colorado roads to celebrate with friends and family, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies will ramp up enforcement efforts to protect the public and keep Colorado roads safe. The effort is part of the ongoing The Heat Is On DUI enforcement campaign and will enforce Colorado DUI and DWAI laws through increased patrols and checkpoints.
Last year's five day enforcement period resulted in 283 impaired driving arrests. This year's ten-day enforcement period is twice as long and runs Nov. 18 to Nov. 28. At least 96 law enforcement agencies are expected to participate.
"We know Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and celebration -- but we want Colorado's residents and holiday guests to understand that impaired driving will not be tolerated," said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "Make a plan. If you're going to drink at all, arrange a sober ride home -- otherwise you put yourself and others at risk."
Aside from the dangers impaired drivers present to other motorists, a DUI arrest can result in severe legal and financial consequences. First time offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and costly fines. On average, DUIs cost more than $10,000 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase steeply for repeat offenders.
"Colorado State Troopers and local agencies will be tracking down as many impaired drivers as possible during this enforcement period," said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "We urge people to travel safely and celebrate responsibly. Many people don't understand that just a few drinks can be dangerous. One irresponsible decision can affect the lives of many."
According to preliminary data, of the 535 traffic deaths in Colorado this year, 169 were alcohol-related crashes, nearly one-third of traffic fatalities. CDOT's R-U-Buzzed app helps drinkers gauge their blood-alcohol content (BAC) -- Colorado's DUI limit is a .08 BAC and DWAI limit a .05 BAC. The app estimates users' BAC based on information they enter -- weight, gender and number of drinks consumed in a given time. The app also connects with popular ride-hailing services, including Uber and Lyft, to help the user get home safely. Download the R-U-Buzzed app for iPhone and Android FREE: onelink.to/r-u-buzzed.
To access CDOT's The Heat Is On arrest database visit bit.ly/HIOarrests. Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.
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