471 Arrested For Impaired Driving St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

March 24, 2014 - Traffic Safety - Many Pushed Their Luck During DUI Enforcement.

STATEWIDE—Green beer was flowing during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but many celebrators will now find themselves spending plenty of green to cover the costs of their new DUI. During last weekend’s The Heat Is On enforcement period, 471 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

From March 14-18, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) partnered with 92 law enforcement agencies throughout the state to increase DUI enforcement to remove impaired drivers from Colorado roadways. Preliminary reports show one alcohol-related fatality during the enforcement period. The number of arrests over St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a decrease from last year’s enforcement period, when law enforcement initiated 486 DUI arrests. The highest number of DUI arrests that took place during this year’s enforcement period were made by the CSP (96 arrests), Denver Police Department (45 arrests), Colorado Springs Police Department (41 arrests) and Aurora Police Department (28 arrests).

“Each DUI enforcement period demonstrates that law enforcement agencies, whether large or small, rural or urban, are dedicated to working together to keep Colorado’s roads safe,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Even with our efforts, the St. Patrick’s Day weekend’s arrests underscore the major impaired driving problem in Colorado, and we will continue our increased public education and enforcement work.”

Along with the increased enforcement, CDOT reached out to bars across Colorado to hang posters and banners, encouraging celebrators to embrace their Irish heritage, but not to drive themselves home if they've been drinking. Major St. Patrick’s Day hot spots participated in the outreach, including Jack Quinn's in Colorado Springs, Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins, and Delaney's Celtic Tavern and Whiskey Bar in Denver.

“We are extremely grateful to our bar partners who helped distribute The Heat Is On information, reaching our target audience right when they were celebrating,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “With each enforcement period we try to establish new relationships to further our outreach and encourage more people to ‘Drink & Don’t Drive.’”

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 at HeatIsOnColorado.com.