STATEWIDE — In an effort keep Colorado roads safe during early holiday celebrations, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies recently concluded the Holiday Parties DUI enforcement as part of The Heat Is On campaign. From Dec. 2 to Dec. 12, officers arrested 552 impaired drivers — a slight decrease from the 596 arrests during the same enforcement period last year.
“Many people will make the responsible decision to get a lift from a sober friend or take a taxi, Uber or Lyft after drinking alcohol at holiday parties. If you see a friend or family member trying to get behind the wheel while impaired; speak up,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Deterring coworkers, friends and family from impaired driving can potentially save their life and the lives of others on the road this holiday season.”
The enforcement included 97 statewide agencies. The Denver Police Department (70 arrests), Aurora Police Department (60 arrests) and Colorado Springs Police Department (36 arrests) reported the highest arrest totals. In addition, the Colorado State Patrol reported 92 arrests. To access CDOT’s The Heat Is On arrest database for every enforcement period, visit bit.ly/HIOarrests. Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.
According to preliminary data, 181 people have died in impaired-related crashes in Colorado this year. In 2015, between Thanksgiving and New Years, 34 people were killed in traffic crashes — eight were alcohol-related.
“Winter driving can be dangerous in itself — adding alcohol to the equation significantly increases the chances of being involved in a crash,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Impaired driving is never a good idea, especially with snow and ice on the roadways.”
Along with the serious risks impaired drivers present to themselves and other motorists, a DUI arrest can include harsh legal and financial consequences. First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. On average, 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 resumes Dec. 30 to Jan. 3 with a New Year’s Eve DUI enforcement, the final enforcement period this year.
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.
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