The Colorado Department of Transportation has announced that law enforcement officers made 964 DUI arrests during its Labor Day Enforcement period, August 19 to September 6. As Chhun Sun writes for The Gazette, the fact that the number of DUI arrests was slightly lower than last year’s (1,030 arrests by 87 agencies) suggests that CDOT’s The Heat Is On campaign is helping save lives.
Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol said:
Twenty-five percent of the alcohol-related fatalities in 2015 occurred in August and September. Considering the Labor Day enforcement overlaps these two months, it was critical law enforcement be on high alert.
During the crackdown, the Aurora Police Department made the most arrests — 126 — followed by the Colorado State Patrol, 107, and the Denver Police Department, 105. The number of Colorado Springs DUI arrests was 87, down from 93 during the same time last year. One hundred three Colorado agencies participated in this year’s enforcement.
Calculating Blood Alcohol Content
CDOT also launched a free smartphone app called R-U-Buzzed, which it hopes will reduce the incidence of impaired driving. R-U-Buzzed, an app available for Android phones and iPhones, calculates blood alcohol content by analyzing factors including the user’s weight and gender, how much alcohol is consumed, and how much time is spent drinking. The app’s one-screen interface is easy to use, allowing the user to quickly update a reading or begin a new one.
After calculating a user’s BAC level, the app shares safety information about impairment and Colorado law. It also provides access to ride-hailing services.
Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said the department hopes the new app will help Colorado residents understand that “even a couple drinks” can put them over the legal limit. R-U-Buzzed also helps alert drivers that they can be arrested even if their BAC is below the legal limit, if alcohol or drugs are affecting their driving ability to even the slightest degree.
Some people might think they are sober before they actually are, especially when a person drinks late into the night, then wakes up in the morning and drives home. The app gives a user an estimated time when he or she will be sober if he or she stops drinking.
Sam Cole, CDOT’s communications manager, said:
With the R-U-Buzzed app, it’s incredibly easy to estimate your BAC and then connect to a safe ride home. There’s never a reason to drive impaired.
It is the department’s responsibility to encourage people to drive safely and to decrease the number of deaths from car accidents, Cole said.
The Heat Is On
CDOT’s Highway Safety Office provides state law enforcement departments with funding for impaired driving enforcement and education and awareness campaigns. Its high-profile The Heat Is On impaired driving campaign runs enforcement periods 12 times a year, coinciding with national holidays and large public events. According to CDOT, each year in Colorado, officers arrest more than 26,000 people for DUI, and more than 150 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes, more than a third of all traffic fatalities in the state.
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