Don't Push Your Luck This St. Patrick's Day Weekend

March 13, 2013 - TRAFFIC SAFETY - No Excuses for Drinking and Driving.

DENVER—With 148 RTD bus and light rail routes, along with 1,262 taxis permitted to operate in Denver at one time and 106 law enforcement agencies statewide cracking down on drunk drivers, there is no excuse for driving drunk this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

To reduce the number of DUIs in Colorado during the March 15-18 St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will partner with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), local law enforcement agencies and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to educate citizens on impaired driving and emphasize designating a sober driver or taking an alternate mode of transportation to keep the roads safe over the weekend.

“To put things in perspective, the average RTD bus or light rail ticket is $3.75 and typical cab fare within the Denver metro area is about $22.25. Compare that to the average cost of a DUI, which is over $10,000,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we urge you to protect yourself and others by staying off the road and making safe travel decisions.”

Beyond law enforcement efforts, Heat Is On education activities will take place in Lower Downtown this weekend and includes the distribution of $10 cab vouchers courtesy of MillerCoors for those who may have had too much drink. And to reward designated drivers and encourage revelers to switch to a non-alcoholic beverage, CDOT has partnered with Denver-based DazBog Coffee to distribute gift cards. Additionally, CDOT developed an infographic poster which tells the story of St. Patrick’s Day and the Heat Is On enforcement period.

“Last year during the same enforcement period, there were 424 arrests and four fatalities statewide,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “This year, law enforcement will continue to be out on the roads to protect lives. Be forewarned, you will get caught if you make the dangerous decision to push your luck and drink and drive.”

“Every day in America, another 27 people die and about 863 people are injured as a result of drunk driving crashes,” said Fran Lanzer, Manager of Field Development at MADD Colorado. “Far too often, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations end in tragedy because of drunk driving. We ask those who are 21 and older to visit and take a pledge to save lives by being a non-drinking designated driver, and we urge those who are under 21 to always avoid drinking alcohol.”

The Heat Is On runs the entire year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large, public events. More details about the DUI enforcement plans and arrest results can be found

***CDOT St. Patrick’s Day/Heat Is On Color Infographic Visual Attached***