Thanksgiving Week DUI Crackdown Aims to Gobble Up Impaired Drivers in Colorado

November 22, 2010 - TRAFFIC SAFETY - Heat is On enforcement begins Tuesday as holiday travelers hit the road.

Denver, CO –  Motorists across Colorado have a lot to be thankful for this holiday week, as hundreds of law enforcement officers hit the road to protect them from the threat of impaired drivers.  The Colorado State Patrol and 71 agencies are participating in a special Thanksgiving week “Heat Is On” DUI enforcement beginning Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. through Monday, Nov. 29 at 3 a.m.

This year marks the second time Colorado law enforcement agencies have operated increased DUI patrols over the Thanksgiving week.  In 2009, 587 drivers were arrested for DUI during the seven-day period.

“The goal of increased DUI enforcement is not to spoil Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s to protect families from losing a loved one to a crime that is completely preventable,” said Col. James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  “Thousands of additional vehicles will be traveling our roadways this week and we want everyone in them to make it to their destination safely.  Designate a sober driver and please remember to buckle up.”

Since 2007, 23 people have been killed on Colorado roadways during the Thanksgiving week; one-third of those deaths were due to an impaired driver and over half of those killed were not wearing seat belts.  This year, AAA Colorado is expecting a rise in Thanksgiving travel, with 2.86 million people traveling by car in the Mountain States.

“This time of year we are thankful for what we have, including friends and family, but we can lose everything if we get behind the wheel after drinking,” said Pamela Hutton, governor’s representative for highway safety at the Colorado Department of Transportation.  “As you plan your Thanksgiving dinner, make a plan for a safe and sober way home for you and your loved ones.  Don’t let any of your guests drive if they’ve been drinking.”

Thanksgiving DUI enforcement follows the most recent crackdown at Halloween when 431 drivers were arrested for DUI.  Thanksgiving enforcement also comes just ahead of an increased DUI enforcement period running through New Year’s weekend.  CDOT will launch a holiday DUI education campaign next week encouraging drivers to stay safe and plan ahead throughout the holiday season.

To view a list of agencies participating in increased DUI enforcement for Thanksgiving, click here.

For detailed information about arrests results by agency and current enforcement plans, visit