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CDOT, law enforcement shine a light on holiday-season DUIs with caroling officers and “DUI Tree”

December 5, 2019 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Holiday Parties DUI enforcement starts Friday

STATEWIDE  As holiday cheer sets in and Coloradans attend parties across the state, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies are teaming up to keep roads safe from impaired drivers. The annual The Heat Is On Holiday Parties DUI enforcement period begins Friday and runs through Monday, Dec. 16.  

Today, CDOT, CSP, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and participating law enforcement agencies hosted a media event at the Colorado State Capitol to launch the upcoming DUI enforcement period. Representatives from CDOT, CSP, MADD and the Denver Police Department shared remarks at the event. In addition, a group of safety advocates and officers sang three DUI-themed carols. The DUI carols were spoofs of popular holiday songs. Please see video and photos from the event here: bit.ly/PhotosVideo.

The event also featured the “DUI Tree” — a 3D holiday tree decorated with 100 large white holiday lights. For every 10 DUIs reported during the enforcement period, a white bulb will be replaced on the tree with a red or blue bulb to represent police lights. Signs will accompany the tree with the message, “You Choose — Holiday Lights or Police Lights.” The tree will be on display at the Denver Pavilions (500 16th St Mall, Denver, CO 80202) through Dec. 16 and will be updated every few days with red/blue lights.

"In 2018, one-third of all traffic fatalities on Colorado roads involved an impaired driver," said Shoshana Lew, executive director of CDOT. "We encourage everyone celebrating the holidays to plan ahead and arrange for a sober ride home."   

This enforcement effort is part of CDOT’s ongoing The Heat Is On campaign to enforce Colorado DUI and DWAI laws and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by impaired drivers in Colorado. During last year’s 10-day Holiday Parties enforcement period, 113 law enforcement agencies arrested 727 impaired drivers.

In December 2018, 20 percent of the 54 statewide traffic fatalities were impairment-related.

“There’s only one way to drive and that’s sober,” said Matthew Packard, chief of the CSP. “Looking forward to the holiday season and the rest of 2019, we want everyone to think twice before getting behind the wheel while impaired. Whether it’s a sober friend, a ride-hailing service, or public transportation, make sure to plan ahead and secure a sober ride.”

The Holiday Parties DUI enforcement comes after 91 agencies participated in the Thanksgiving weekend enforcement period from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2. To access CDOT’s The Heat Is On arrest database for the Thanksgiving enforcement period, visit bit.ly/CDOT-HIO. Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.

CDOT urges Colorado residents and visiting drivers to plan ahead and arrange a sober ride home if you choose to drink. Ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber connect users directly with a nearby driver and public transportation is also available across the state.

The Thanksgiving and Holiday Parties enforcement periods and DUI-prevention campaign support CDOT’s Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to reduce traffic injuries and deaths. Last year, there were 209 passenger vehicle fatalities on Colorado roads involving impaired drivers, accounting for more than one-third of all traffic fatalities in 2018. A complete list of arrests can be found at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.

ABOUT THE HEAT IS ON

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 16 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.

 

WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY.  

In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely. 

 

ABOUT CDOT

CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Governor Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.

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