News

231 impaired drivers arrested during Memorial Day enforcement period

June 5, 2020 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period begins June 12

STATEWIDE — While many Coloradans kicked off summer over Memorial Day weekend, others started it with a DUI. As part of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) The Heat Is On campaign, Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement launched the annual Memorial Day DUI enforcement period to protect motorists from impaired drivers on Colorado roads. As a result, 231 impaired drivers were arrested during the holiday weekend enforcement period, which is a decrease from the 323 arrests made during this enforcement in 2019.

“When you get behind the wheel, you’re not only in control of your own safety, your actions impact the safety of everyone around you,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director at CDOT. “Just as we are all doing our part to protect each other during this pandemic, we need to protect each other on the road and that means eliminating impaired driving.”

Statewide, 84 law enforcement agencies participated in the Memorial Day enforcement period, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (27 arrests) and the El Paso County Sheriffs Office (22 arrests) recording the highest arrest totals. CSP arrested an additional 64 DUI offenders across the state. Comprehensive results from all participating agencies can be found at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal. Arrest data is organized by law enforcement agency and enforcement period.

“Safety and wellness have always been at the core of Colorado State Patrol’s values,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP. “We have always been on high alert to keep Coloradans safe on state roads. Unfortunately, that meant arresting 64 motorists for driving impaired this Memorial Day weekend. We want Coloradans to remember that, although Gov. Polis has issued a Safer at Home order and fewer drivers may be on the roads, driving impaired is always prohibited, so plan for a sober ride home—no matter what.”

An average of 60 impaired drivers are arrested for DUI in Colorado every day. The Colorado blood-alcohol (BAC) limit for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is 0.08 percent or higher, and for a Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) charge, it is 0.05 percent or higher. First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. However, a driver can be charged with a DUI if their alcohol content is anywhere above zero. CDOT encourages all drivers who have consumed any amount of alcohol to refrain from driving.

The Heat Is On will return for the Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period from June 12–22.

CDOT’s The Heat Is On DUI-prevention campaign, including the Memorial Day and Summer Blitz enforcement periods, supports CDOT’s Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.

 

COVID-19

Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, road maintenance and construction continues on CDOT projects with social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, staying at home when possible, and avoiding nonessential travel. With fewer vehicles on the roads, CDOT crews will be able to work more efficiently and safely.

 

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.

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal