Memorial Day DUI enforcement period kicks off Friday

May 21, 2020 - Statewide Traffic Safety - 323 motorists cited during same enforcement period last year

STATEWIDE — As Colorado slowly loosens stay-at-home restrictions, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) want to remind Coloradans to drive sober as Memorial Day weekend approaches. The Heat Is On high-visibility enforcement period kicks off on Friday, May 22, and ends on Tuesday, May 26.

Seventy-five law enforcement agencies will participate in the heightened enforcement campaign with increased patrols across the state. Those enjoying Memorial Day festivities away from home are encouraged to plan for a sober ride if they intend to consume alcohol or other impairing substances.

“Safety on Colorado’s roadways isn’t just CDOT’s goal – it should be a focus for every single person on the road,” said Shoshana Lew, Executive Director of CDOT. “Your safety and the safety of those around you are at stake when you drive impaired. All of us want to make it home safely, so don’t jeopardize that by driving impaired.”

During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend DUI enforcement period, law enforcement agencies arrested 323 impaired motorists. Last May alone, there were 16 impairment-related fatalities on Colorado’s roads.

The legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit in Colorado is 0.05 percent for driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and 0.08 percent for driving under the influence (DUI). First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines.

"Memorial Day is a day to remember military personnel who died while serving the country.  It also tends to be associated with increased travel and alcohol consumption due to the long weekend.  We want Coloradans to be safe, maintain social distancing practices, and make the decision to never drive impaired," said Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  "Plan ahead for a sober ride if you are celebrating away from home." 

The Heat Is On will be back with its Summer Blitz DUI enforcement from June 12-22. During last year’s summer enforcement, 585 citations were given to impaired drivers with the highest arrests seen from the Colorado Springs Police Department (52), the Denver Police Department (33) and the El Paso County Sherriff’s Office (32). The summer months and holiday weekends traditionally show an increase in DUI crashes and arrests. Law enforcement is always on the lookout for impaired drivers and working to keep Colorado roads safe.

CDOT’s The Heat Is On DUI-prevention campaign is a key component of CDOT’s Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to reduce traffic injuries and deaths.



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.



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



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.


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. Gov. Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.