The Heat Is On

Almost 100 Colorado law-enforcement agencies helped in the campaign by providing extra DUI patrols.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reports that 372 drivers in the state were arrested for DUI or DWAI over the Memorial Day weekend, Allison Sylte wrote for KUSA.

DUI enforcement campaign

CDOT’s The Heat is On DUI enforcement campaign logo.

This was 71 more than the 301 arrests made during the same “The Heat Is On” enforcement effort in 2015. Arrests were made by the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies, as well as CDOT.

A total of 99 agencies helped in the effort by providing extra DUI patrols. Agencies with the most arrests were the Denver Police Department, with 42; the Aurora Police Department, 37; and the Colorado Springs Police Department, 24. The Colorado State Patrol gave citations to 83 other impaired drivers.

Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said:

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities is an urgent issue, and one CDOT will always consider a top priority. If The Heat Is On enforcement periods can stop even one impaired driver, we consider the enforcement period a success.

Impaired Driving During Holidays

Noting that there is typically an increase in the number of impaired drivers on the roads during Memorial Day weekend, Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Scott Hernandez said:

People should realize the even a drink or two puts everyone on the road in danger. Anytime you drink and later choose to drive — regardless of the amount– you are taking an unnecessary risk.

Under Colorado law, a driver can be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if he or she has a blood-alcohol level of .08% or higher. A blood alcohol level greater than .05% but less than .08% is grounds for arrest for Driving While Ability Impaired.

Highway Safety Office Campaigns

Colorado law enforcement is able to do its work with the help of funding from CDOT’s Highway Safety Office for impaired driving enforcement, and education and awareness campaigns.

The Memorial Day enforcement campaign was one of 12 that CDOT runs throughout the year, around the time of national holidays and large public events. The campaigns can include saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, and extra law enforcement officers.

The next enforcement campaign will be for the Fourth of July, from July 1 to July 5. There is also a summer-long enforcement period, during which certain agencies operate three DUI checkpoints.

Each year, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI in Colorado. More than 150 people are killed in alcohol-related accidents, more than one-third of the state’s traffic deaths.

‘A Few Can Still Be Dangerous’

Data shows that many people in the target group for DUI crashes, men between the ages of 21 and 35, do not feel that driving after a few drinks constitutes impaired driving. To address this serious issue, CDOT’s  Office of Transportation Safety and Public Relations has a public service announcement campaign called “A Few Can Still Be Dangerous.”

There also is a campaign to discourage drugged driving, which alerts people to the dangers of driving under the influence of marjuana (medical or recreational), medications, and illegal drugs.

Image by Jaromir Chalabala/123RF.