Summer Celebrations end Early for 337 Impaired Drivers

July 12, 2018 - Fourth of July DUI Enforcement Shows Decrease in Driver Arrests

STATEWIDE— Instead of fireworks, 337 impaired drivers watched the red, white and blue flashing lights of a patrol vehicle this past Fourth of July holiday. CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies teamed up to conduct a Fourth of July heightened DUI enforcement from June 29 to July 5. The 337 citations are a decrease from the 394 arrests made during last year's The Heat Is On campaign for the period.

June was the year's deadliest month to date on Colorado roads, with 60 fatalities. Less than two weeks into July, 13 people have already died in crashes.

"As we feared, road fatalities are increasing during the summer months with more people driving and attending social events," said Darrell Lingk, CDOT's director of the Office of Transportation Safety. "Of the 60 fatalities last month, 21 involved an impaired driver. It only takes a few drinks to put the lives of yourself and others in danger. It is simply not acceptable to drive while impaired."

A total of 99 agencies participated in the DUI enforcement, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (25), Denver Police Department (34) and Grand Junction Police Department (11) recording the highest number of arrests. In addition, CSP cited 76 drivers during the enforcement period.

"Tragically, these arrests were entirely preventable. It's a matter of personal accountability," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. "Many people don't realize that a couple drinks at a barbecue or happy hour can put themselves, their passengers and other drivers in danger."

In addition to the risks of injury or even death for impaired drivers and fellow motorists, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.

The Heat Is On will return for the Sturgis Rally enforcement, from Aug. 3 to 13, when thousands of motorcyclists will travel through Colorado en route to South Dakota. Last year, 552 impaired drivers were arrested during the 10-day enforcement period.

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.

Learn more about the campaign.