Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and unfortunately, that means more impaired drivers on Colorado roads. While Coloradans spend time with their friends and families, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies will ramp up DUI enforcement efforts to protect the public and keep Colorado roads safe. Increased DUI patrols will take place statewide beginning Friday and continuing to Monday, November 26.
The effort is part of CDOT's ongoing The Heat Is On campaign to enforce Colorado DUI and DWAI laws to reduce the number of crashes caused by impaired drivers in Colorado. Last year, 110 law enforcement agencies arrested 617 impaired drivers during the same 10-day enforcement period.
In November 2017, there were 57 fatalities on Colorado roads. Of those, 23 (40 percent) involved impaired drivers.
"We want Colorado 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. "Whether riding along or driving for the holiday, we encourage everyone to wear their seat belts. Using a seat belt is your best defense against an impaired or distracted driver."
There are several options available for those who need to find a sober ride home. Ride-hailing services like Lyft, Uber and zTrip connect users directly with a nearby driver.
"State Patrol and local law officers will be sacrificing time with their families to track down impaired drivers during this enforcement period," said Col. Matthew Packard, Chief of the CSP. "We urge people to wear seat belts, travel safely and consume responsibly. Many people don't understand that it doesn't take much before you can become a danger to yourself and others on our roads. Make responsible decisions and commit to never driving impaired."
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.