Lead by example: drive sober this Presidents Day weekend

News Release

February 11, 2021 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Traffic fatalities involving impaired drivers increased 18% in 2020

 STATEWIDE — Presidents Day weekend is a historically highly traveled holiday in Colorado. To urge Coloradans to prepare a sober ride if they consume alcohol or marijuana away from home, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will team up for the Presidents Day DUI enforcement period from Feb. 12-22.

CDOT urges people to remain mindful of current COVID-19 guidelines and avoid socializing with people outside their own home and always wear a mask in public. 

Eighty agencies will have additional DUI patrols on duty during the enforcement to keep impaired drivers off of the roads. The 2020 Presidents Week DUI enforcement period resulted in the arrest of 578 impaired drivers.

“The more you drink, the longer it takes you to process information and the slower your response time to what's happening on the road. Driving is a task that requires someone’s full attention,” said Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard. “Impaired driving increases your chance of a crash significantly due to a variety of factors. Drinking, drugs, and driving don’t go together — keep them separate.”

Despite 11% less traffic on Colorado roads in 2020, impaired-driving fatalities increased 18%. In 2020, 611 total fatalities occurred statewide, with 202 of those deaths involving an impaired driver (roughly 33%). In comparison, there were 596 total traffic deaths in 2019 with 171 involving an impaired-driver (about 29%).

“CDOT’s Whole System — Whole Safety mission is simple: get Coloradans home safely,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT Highway Safety Office Director. “The Heat Is On supports this in its entirety by combining education and enforcement efforts across the state to ensure everyone understands the dangers of and alternatives to impaired driving.”

CDOT’s 2-Hourglass display is currently on-site at Hazel’s Beverage World as a reminder to never drive impaired. The display’s message is that the only way to ensure someone is safe to drive is to have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of zero. It will remain on-site at Hazel’s through the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period from March 12-18. CDOT has also partnered with BACtrack®, a leading breathalyzer company, to offer Colorado residents a limited-time discount of 30% off a personal breathalyzer from March 8-21, or while supplies last. Personal breathalyzers can be purchased at codot.bactrack.com.

Find local agency plans and total arrests for The Heat Is On enforcement periods at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal. Information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org


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. More information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org. Learn more about CDOT’s dedication to keeping Colorado roads safe, including impaired driving enforcement objectives, arrest data and safety information at codot.gov/safety.


About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.