Thanksgiving DUI Enforcement Stops 518 Impaired Drivers

Holiday Parties Enforcement begins today.

STATEWIDE—It was a busy holiday on Colorado roads, as residents and tourists traveled for Thanksgiving celebrations with friends and family. To increase safety for all drivers, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and law enforcement agencies statewide increased impaired driving enforcement as part of The Heat Is On campaign.

From Nov. 18-28, 97 agencies across the state arrested 518 drivers, a significant increase from the 283 drivers arrested during the same enforcement event last year. The additional arrests are attributed to the longer enforcement period this year, which was twice as long.

The Colorado State Patrol (64 arrests), Aurora Police Department (69 arrests), the Denver Police Department (57 arrests) and Colorado Springs Police Department (38 arrests) recorded the highest arrest totals. Results from all participating agencies are available for review. Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.

To coincide with the numerous celebrations happening this time of year, the Holiday Parties DUI enforcement period begins today. The 10-day crackdown runs until Dec. 12. Last year, 100 agencies arrested 596 drivers during the holiday enforcement period. This year, at least 90 law enforcement agencies will participate in the effort.

"Traffic fatalities in Colorado have already surpassed last year's total," said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "Impaired drivers were involved in about one-third of those deaths, and CDOT is determined to continue DUI-prevention efforts, as enforcement is our most effective tool to reduce impaired driving crashes and fatalities."

According to preliminary data, 177 people have died in alcohol- and drug-related crashes on Colorado roadways so far this year.

"Every impaired driver taken off the road is potentially a life saved," said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "With more officers on the road, we can be proactive and stop dangerous drivers before they cause serious harm to themselves or others."

Aside from the dangers impaired drivers present to other motorists, a DUI arrest can result in severe legal and financial consequences. First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and steep fines. On average, a DUI can cost more than $10,000 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.

The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific high-visibility impaired driving-enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events.

Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at