Driving Under the Influence DUI car accidents.

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

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that its Holiday Party DUI enforcement campaign has already led to the arrest of 596 drivers statewide for impaired driving. The campaign was conducted by CDOT, 91 Colorado State Patrol (CSP) troops, and local law enforcement agencies, according to a CDOT press release. The enforcement period ran from Friday, December 4, through Monday, December 14.

CSP arrested 96 drivers for DUI during the enforcement period, the Denver Police Department arrested 70, and the Aurora Police Department arrested 51. In addition, large numbers of arrests were also made by the Colorado Springs Police Department, with 27; and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, with 24.

Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said:

There is no excuse to drive while impaired with so many safe alternatives available.

Darrell Lingk, director of the CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, urges drivers to arrange for a designated driver or use alternative transportation options if they plan on drinking during the holidays.

Alternatives to Driving Under the Influence

As this blog wrote earlier this month:

  • There is a free “R-U-Buzzed?” app for iPhones and for Androids that makes it easy to calculate your blood alcohol level and find a cab.
  • You can also call the ride sharing service Lyft, via its mobile app at lyft.com. Lyft will send the nearest available driver to your location, using your phone’s GPS as a guide. And if you have never used Lyft before, you can sign up with the promo code CDOTRideSafe and get a $20 credit on your first ride. After you download the app, create an account, then enter the above code in the “Payment” section.
  • Uber is another service you can use when you have been drinking. Uber will pick you up anywhere, even if you don’t know your exact address. Its app detects your location via your phone’s GPS and connects you with the available driver nearest to you. To receive $20 off your first Uber ride, enter the code NODUICO under “Promotions” once you download the Uber app and sign up for an account.

What Is Colorado’s DUI Limit?

Lingk added that it is alarming that fewer than half of Denver residents are aware of the DUI limit. CDOT reports that a recent Responsibility.org holiday survey, “Are Americans Alcohol-Aware?” finds that 57% of Denver adults do not know the legal driving limit for a DUI.

According to DMV.org (a website whose mission is to help create a world with no auto accidents, among other things), the law in Colorado states that the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers over 21 years old is 0.08%, while the limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.02%.

In addition, a driver in Colorado can be cited for driving while ability is impaired (DWAI) with a BAC of 0.05%. However, the Responsibility.org study did not examine the understanding that respondents had of DWAI.

The good news is that the study found that 64% of Denver respondents have stopped a person from driving while drunk, and 87% of those surveyed said they feel confident that they could intervene before someone drives drunk. Both of these results are the highest marks in the U.S. Link said:

We’re delighted that Denver residents are looking out for their communities and proactively trying to keep their peers off the roads after consuming alcohol.

Transportation Alternatives

He added, however, that there is still a lot of work for CDOT to do to prevent drunk driving. Denver fell short in the part of the survey that asked people how often they use transportation options when they go out socially, with only 12% of respondents saying they use them, compared to a national average of 17%, according to Responsibility.org.

The state will continue its “The Heat Is On” campaign with intensified New Year’s Eve DUI enforcement. That will begin Wednesday, Dec. 30, and will run through Monday, January 4.

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