Fall in Colorado

An early snow falls on autumn foliage near Handies Peak.

Autumn ushers in the holiday season, as well as a slew of events and parties. To make the roads safer through October 24, the Colorado Department of Transportation has begun its The Heat Is On Fall Festivals DUI enforcement period. The effort includes extra patrols, checkpoints, and additional officers on the lookout for impaired drivers. As of last week, there were 83 agencies participating.

During this same enforcement period in 2015, officers arrested 1,486 impaired drivers in Colorado, Jeff Goldblatt reported for WesternSlopeNow.com. According to CDOT, as of September 14, this year there were 133 fatalities in involving impaired drivers, 31% of the 410 total traffic fatalities up to that point.

Plan for a Sober Ride

Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, lamented the fact that many drivers do not heed safety warnings urging them not to drive while impaired:

It’s heartbreaking to see people continue to drive impaired with plenty of resources and alternative modes of transportation available. CDOT encourages making a travel plan for a sober ride both to and from your destination, leaving no chance to drive impaired.

Colorado State Patrol’s Chief Col. Scott Hernandez asks the public to pay special attention to the message, noting that all it takes is one impaired driver to “drastically change the lives of many people.” He said:

The Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies have zero tolerance for impaired drivers. Preventing friends and family from driving impaired could save their lives, or the lives of other drivers and pedestrians on Colorado’s roads.’

Help Avoiding DUIs

CDOT invites drivers to download the newly enhanced R-U-Buzzed smartphone app, a resource that is very useful for avoiding impaired driving. The free app calculates a person’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) and also makes it easy to directly contact ride-hailing services, including Uber, Lyft, zTrip, and Curb.

R-U-Buzzed estimates a person’s BAC levels based on information that person enters into the app, including gender, weight, amount of time spent drinking, and how much alcohol has been consumed.

The app’s one-screen interface lets users immediately update or adjust existing data, or start a new reading. Once it generates the person’s BAC level, it shares safety messages, and information about Colorado’s laws and impairment. R-U-Buzzed is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones. You can download them here.

Colorado’s Impaired Driving Laws

The app provides drivers with the following information about Colorado’s impaired driving laws:

  • Law officers can arrest a person for Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) if his or her BAC is 0.05 percent or higher (but less than 0.08 percent BAC)
  • Officers can arrest a person for Driving Under the Influence (DUI ) if his or her BAC is 0.08 percent or higher;
  • A person convicted of DWAI or DUI faces such consequences as arrest and jail time, loss of driver’s license, and fines. The average DUI costs more than $10,000.

The Heat Is On Arrests

You can access CDOT’s The Heat Is On arrest database online. You can sort the data by county, enforcement period, and by specific law enforcement agency.

Funding for impaired driving enforcement, and education and awareness campaigns comes from the CDOT Highway Safety Office. The Heat Is On heightened enforcement runs 12 times a year around the times of national holidays and large public events.

Image by snehit/123RF.

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