Leprechauns and Law Enforcement on Patrol This St. Patrick's Day

March 15, 2018 - DUI Enforcement Begins Friday

They say wearing green on St. Patrick's Day will protect you from the pinch of a leprechaun, but planning a sober ride is the best way to stay safe during weekend festivities and avoid a DUI. As part of The Heat Is On DUI enforcement campaign, law enforcement will be out in full force to keep impaired motorists off the roads from Friday, March 16, to Monday, March 19.

CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies are participating in the crackdown.

"If you're going to pinch a friend for not wearing green this weekend, why not make a point to keep them from getting behind the wheel impaired?" asked Darrell Lingk, director of the CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "It's no secret that for many, alcohol is a major component of this holiday, but we hope people will plan a sober ride home before they go out and make responsible choices before putting themselves and others in danger."

Last year's St. Patrick's Day enforcement period resulted in 607 arrests for impaired driving. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can all cause impairment.

"One impaired driver on the road is too many, let alone over 600. People need to understand that even a single drink can impair your ability to drive and risk the safety of yourself and others. The consequences are simply not worth the risk," said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. "By not drinking and driving, you can help yourself and the Colorado State Patrol by being a force for good within your community."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2016 St. Patrick's Day holiday period, almost two-thirds (39 percent) of nationwide motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.

Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead for a safe ride home. Many public transportation options are available, in addition to rideshare and taxi services. The cost of a ride home is minimal compared to the cost of a DUI, which can total over $13,500 when considering fines and legal fees.

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 HeatIsOnColorado.com.