News

2,999 impaired drivers feel the summer heat in 2019

September 13, 2019 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Fall Festivals enforcement period starts today

(Correction: This news release originally had incorrect DUI arrest data )

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP), and local law agencies teamed up for six high visibility enforcement periods as part of The Heat Is On campaign. The enforcement periods are meant to ensure every Coloradan gets home safely, which is the primary mission of CDOT’s Whole System  Whole Safety initiative.

The enforcement periods conducted over the summer included:

  • Memorial Day – 323 arrests (four-day enforcement period)

o   Highest arrest total: Colorado Springs Police Department (32)

  • Summer Blitz - 585 arrests (10-day period)

o   Highest arrest total: Colorado Springs Police Department (52)

  • Fourth of July - 311 arrests (five-day period)

o   Highest arrest total: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (47)

  • Summer Strikeout - 482 arrests (10-day period)

o   Highest arrest total: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (48)

  • Sturgis Rally - 399 arrests (10-day period)

o   Highest arrest total: Colorado Springs Police Department (47)

  • Labor Day Crackdown - 899 arrests (18-day period)

o   Highest arrest total: Denver Police Department (106)

A total of 2,999 drivers were arrested as a result of the summer increased impaired driving enforcement periods. This is an 11% increase from the 2,663 arrests made during last year’s summer enforcement periods. The highest number of drivers were cited during the Labor Day enforcement period, with 899 drivers arrested over 18 days. The nearly three-week Labor Day enforcement period is the longest summer enforcement period. Additionally, the highest number of arrests during the summer were made by the Colorado Springs Police Department with 283 arrests — nearly 10% of the total arrest made during the summer.

“Last year, 63 people tragically died in alcohol-related crashes in Colorado from June to August. Impaired drivers not only risk an arrest for DUI — they put the lives of everyone on the road in danger,” said Shoshana Lew, CDOT Executive Director. “These enforcement periods get impaired drivers off our roads, which ultimately saves lives.  All people traveling on Colorado roads should get to their destinations safely.”

The Heat Is On summer enforcement periods are finished, but CDOT, CSP, and statewide law agencies will continue to protect the safety on Colorado roads this fall. The Fall Festivals heightened DUI enforcement period will last five weeks from Sept.13 to Oct. 21. The enforcement will include 92 Colorado law enforcement agencies. Last year’s Fall Festivals enforcement cited 1,877 impaired drivers.

As part this year’s The Heat Is On campaign, CDOT has again partnered with BACtrack, a leading personal and professional breathalyzer company, to urge Coloradans to check their blood-alcohol content (BAC) and confirm they are sober before they drive. Through the partnership, BACtrack breathalyzers will be offered at a 50% discount exclusively for Colorado residents through Sept. 15, or while supplies last. Residents can visit codot.bactrack.com to place an order.

“In September and October of last year, Colorado saw 46 alcohol-related fatalities, accounting for 22% of the road fatalities during that timeframe,” said Col. Matthew Packard, CSP Chief.  “No matter what time of year it is, drivers need to make responsible decisions and stay off the roads while impaired. With the number of accessible alternatives to driving, there is no excuse for getting behind the wheel impaired.”

CDOT’s summer and fall 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. A complete list of arrests is at heatisoncolorado.com under the Heat Is On arrest tab.

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

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System  Whole Safety initiative. This project 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 safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission - to get everyone home safely.

ABOUT CDOT
CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located 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. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal