The Colorado Department of Transportation’s “The Heat Is On” Labor Day DUI crackdown began August 19 and will run through September 6. Taking part along with CDOT are the Colorado State Patrol and 82 law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado.
As part of the campaign, the Aurora Police Department set up a DUI checkpoint last Friday night into Saturday morning on Chambers Road, Yesenia Robles wrote for The Denver Post.
Highest Number of DUI Arrests
The highest number of arrests of any enforcement period in the state last year was the Labor Day enforcement period, during which officers cited 1,030 impaired drivers, for an average of 54 arrests per day. In 2015, the 23 alcohol-related traffic deaths in August and the 24 in September (the two highest monthly totals for that year) comprised 25% of all alcohol-related traffic deaths for the year.
Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT said:
CDOT is concerned about impaired driving fatalities year-round, but data indicates people tend to drive impaired more in August and September than any other time of year. We ask that people plan accordingly to avoid drinking and driving. And a warning to impaired drivers on the road: law enforcement is on high alert and prepared to make DUI arrests.
CDOT is also continuing its summer breathalyzer program to determine how well the mobile breathalyzers are helping prevent alcohol-impaired driving. The department has joined forces with BACtrack, a company that makes breathalyzers for personal and law enforcement use, selecting 225 volunteers from among the more than 1,500 people who applied.
Volunteers are given the opportunity to track their blood alcohol content levels, which helps the department to determine how effective the breathalyzers are. The volunteers are required to take three surveys about drinking patterns, driving, and breathalyzers.
After only a couple of drinks, a driver can reach .05 BAC, the Driving While Ability Impaired level, or the DUI level of .08. Every year in Colorado, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI, and more than 150 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes, more than one third of all Colorado traffic deaths.
Drinkinganddriving.org has many print and share resources that can help prevent impaired driving, for instance, a door hanger to use at parties, showing a steering wheel positioned over a bottle to look like a circle-slash “forbidden” symbol. There also are DUI Avoidance Lesson Plans formatted as trifold brochures that you can print out and share at venues like safety fairs. There is also the Sober Drivers Pledge that you can ask friends to take.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes that each state can find anti-drunk driving strategies that work. In addition to drunk driving laws, there are sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks, and of course multimedia campaigns. CDC’s fact sheet for drunk driving in Colorado shows that between 2003 and 2013, 1,702 people were killed in vehicular accidents involving a drunk driver.
The Heat Is On Year-Round
Colorado’s The Heat Is On campaign runs all year long at various times, including 12 high-visibility periods around national holidays and big public events. Enforcement periods typically feature sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and extra law enforcement officers on duty who are focused on impaired driving enforcement.
Image by Neydt/123RF.