Don’t Drop the Ball: Increased DUI Patrols for New Year’s Celebrations Begin Friday

December 27, 2018 - Tips and Free Resources Available to Help People Get Home Safely

STATEWIDE — For many, the new year marks a time for self-improvement, reflection and growth. For those who decide to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it will mark the beginning of a series of penalties from a DUI arrest.  To prevent this from happening and to save lives on our roadways, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will increase DUI enforcement from Dec 28 to Jan. 2.

The heightened enforcement coincides with New Year’s celebrations and is part of The Heat Is On campaign. It includes saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. Last year, 119 agencies arrested 357 impaired drivers during the 5-day New Year’s enforcement period.  This year over 100 law enforcement agencies are participating.

“So far in 2018, there have been 592 traffic fatalities on Colorado roads, with 207 of them being impairment-related,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Sober rides are the easiest way to save lives and ensure New Year’s Eve celebrations are memorable for the right reasons.”

Earlier this month, 106 law enforcement agencies made 722 arrests during the Holiday Parties DUI enforcement period, with the Denver Police Department (68 arrests), Colorado Springs Police Department (87 arrests), and Aurora  Police Department (30 arrests) recording the highest arrest totals. CSP arrested an additional 116 DUI offenders across the state. Comprehensive results from all participating agencies can be found at Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.

“With all the alternative transportation options available, there is no need to drive impaired,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP. “If everyone makes smart decisions this New Year’s and plans ahead, Colorado’s roads will be safer.”

If you’re hosting a party or other New Year’s gathering, consider these tips to help prevent impaired driving:

  • Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the end of the party.
  • Use smaller serving cups to keep alcoholic beverages to the appropriate size.
  • Plan activities and games that do not involve alcohol to reduce consumption.
  • Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys if they’ve had too much to drink, or if they’ve ingested any impairing substance like prescription drugs, sleep medication, marijuana or any form of illegal drug.

In addition to taxis, Uber and Lyft, several promotions will be available to get New Year’s partygoers home safely. RTD and Coors Light will offer complimentary bus and rail service from 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1 as part of the “Freeze the Keys” DUI-prevention effort. For more information, detailed route and schedule information, call 1-800-FREE-RIDES or visit the RTD website.

Furthermore, The Sawaya Law Firm’s “Free Cab Ride Program” will offer a ride from one location to the passenger’s home in the Denver metro area. Once the passenger has paid for a cab, they can send the receipt to The Sawaya Law Firm for reimbursement. For more information, visit

New Year’s revelers in Colorado Springs and Pueblo can take advantage of the McCormick & Murphy P.C. Law Firm’s “No DUI! Free Holiday Rides” promotion to receive reimbursement on cab, Lyft or Uber rides. For more information, visit

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 14 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 dedicated to impaired-driving enforcement. Find more details about the campaign, including impaired-driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips at