Colorado Police Target Drunk Drivers on Holidays
There’s no off-time for Colorado law enforcement agencies, especially around holidays. Police and State Patrol officers work overtime then because they’re the best times to catch drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Colorado police agencies nabbed 1,184 drivers for DUI in the days leading up to and during the Labor Day weekend according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which coordinated interagency efforts during its Labor Day ‘The Heat is On’ DUI enforcement campaign.
This year’s Labor Day campaign resulted in 23 percent more arrests than last year’s when only 964 drivers were cited, CDOT said. CDOT transportation safety director Darrell Lingk stated in a press release:
“Summer is one of the busiest seasons for law enforcement, especially as it relates to DUI arrests and impaired fatalities…While summer is coming to an end, the emphasis is still on preventing impaired driving across the state as fall approaches.”
Booze Busts by the Numbers
CDOT said 121 Colorado police agencies took part in the enforcement campaign. The top participating law enforcement agencies include:
- 161 arrests, Colorado State Patrol
- 106 arrests, Colorado Springs Police Department
- 93 arrests, Aurora Police Department
- 88 arrests, Denver Police Department
You can see a complete, county-by-county breakdown of DUI arrests across Colorado online here.
Police Moving Forward Into Fall
CDOT’s Fall Festivals DUI enforcement campaign lasts five weeks, beginning 11 days after ‘The Heat is On’ and ending on October 23, and targets drivers who had too much fun at football games, tailgate parties, beer festivals, and the plethora of other autumn events where participants drink.
In 2016, the Fall Festivals campaign nabbed 1,498 drivers suspected of being intoxicated.
CDOT’s Highway Safety Office financially assists law enforcement agencies participating in 14 ‘The Heat is On’ campaign periods throughout the year. Officials center each event around national holidays and large public events, the agency said. They use strategies such as sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and increased patrol officer presence during the time periods.
Drunk Driving Problem Persists
Across Colorado, police arrest about 26,000 DUI suspects every year, CDOT said. More than a third of the Colorado’s auto accident deaths are related to consumption of alcohol. Driving while impaired risks the safety of drivers, their passengers, and others on the road. And it’s costly in financial terms. The state agency estimates that a first-time DUI offense can cost a driver more than $13,500 when considering legal costs, fines, and increased insurance premiums.
Prevent an Auto Accident – Know Before You Drive
Those who want to drink responsibly have a new tool to help them know with relative certainty whether they’ve gone past legal limits: inexpensive, handheld breathalyzers. And a CDOT program is aimed at putting them in the hands of Colorado drivers. The “Before You Go, Know” campaign encourages drivers to check their blood alcohol content (BAC) before getting into the driver’s seat.
CDOT and manufacturer BACtrack are offering 20 percent discounts and free shipping for buyers who order before September 30 and enter the discount code “CDOT” during checkout on the company’s website. Several different models average about $100. Some units operate while plugged into a smartphone.