‘Tis the season for sober rides: CDOT kicks off multiweek holiday DUI enforcement

News Release

December 7, 2022 - Statewide News - 36% of traffic fatalities in 2022 involve impairment

Haga clic aquí para ver este comunicado de prensa Ha llegado la temporada de viajes con conductores sobrios CDOT inicia un período de varias semanas de vigilancia de conductores afectados por alcohol o drogas en español.

Statewide — ‘Tis the season…for safe and sober rides. From Dec. 8-20, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and 65 local law enforcement agencies are coming together for the Holiday Parties high-visibility DUI enforcement period, reminding Coloradans to hand over the keys if they have been drinking or consuming cannabis.

According to CDOT, 31 people were killed on Colorado roads during the Christmas holiday between 2016 and 2021. To date this year, 36% of traffic fatalities in Colorado have involved an impaired driver. CDOT reminds Coloradans that buzzed driving is still drunk driving and can result in a DUI.

“There’s no reason to risk your life in a crash, you have options,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It takes years to remove a DUI off your record and a lifetime to carry the guilt of taking an innocent life from choosing to drive intoxicated. Be intentional with your holiday plans and determine your ride home before you go out and live to celebrate the holidays.”

To support holiday enforcement, CDOT launched its “Nothing Uglier than a DUI” campaign last week, asking Coloradans to redeem available Lyft ride credit to get to and from their destinations safely. From Dec. 1, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023, Coloradans can redeem a $10 ride credit using the code “DUISRUGLY” in the Promotions section of the Lyft app. The ride credits, available statewide, are valid only while supplies last. The credits must be redeemed from 5 p.m. - 5 a.m. Use this link to apply the credit directly to the Lyft app from a mobile device.

There have been 247 traffic fatalities that have involved an impaired driver so far this year. The counties with the highest fatalities are Adams (31), El Paso (24) and Denver (19).

2022 Impaired Driving Fatalities Highest Counties in Colorado

Also in 2022 there have been 3,902 DUI arrests during increased DUI enforcement periods in the state. The recent Thanksgiving Week enforcement wave concluded with 268 arrests across 79 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were the Colorado State Patrol (78), Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (23) and Aurora Police Department (16).

“Spending time with loved ones during the holidays is a joy that should not be ruined by a careless mistake,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Just one drink can impair you for up to two hours. If you drink, don’t drive. Everyone has a part in making sure we all get home safely.”

CDOT is joining MADD Colorado and law enforcement agencies across Colorado to remind drivers to plan ahead during the holidays when consuming alcohol or other impairing substances. The following agencies will be involved in the Tie One on For Safety impaired driving enforcement campaign by designating at least one patrol officer to concentrate on impaired driving arrests from Dec. 9-11:

  • Aurora Police Department
  • Avon Police Department
  • Buena Vista Police Department
  • Castle Rock Police Department
  • Colorado Springs Police Department
  • Colorado State Patrol - Troop 5B
  • Cortez Police Department
  • De Beque Marshal’s Office
  • Denver Police Department
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Durango Police Department
  • El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fort Collins Police Department
  • Granby Police Department
  • Grand County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Loveland Police Department
  • Mead Police Department
  • Morrison Police Department
  • Pagosa Springs Police Department
  • Palmer Lake Police Department
  • Salida Police Department
  • Wiggins Police Department

The next DUI enforcement period is the New Year’s Eve weekend from Dec. 29 – Jan. 3. During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement.

To stay safe, CDOT recommends the following ways to avoid a DUI:

  • Plan ahead. Before heading out, make a plan for how you will get home so you won’t be tempted to later drive impaired — this could be using a rideshare program, a taxi or mass transit.
  • Designate a sober driver. If you live in a rural area with fewer transportation options, always designate a sober driver to bring you home safely.
  • Have options. If you are hosting a party, make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food available for your guests.
  • Get educated. Check out and download Responsibility.org’s Virtual Bar, which uses the latest science to help provide a better understanding of how different factors affect your BAC on an individual level. The Virtual Bar allows you to estimate your BAC level based on what you drink and how fast (or slow) you drink, and to see how eating food affects your BAC.
  • Get involved! If someone is impaired, don’t be afraid to take their keys or offer a place to spend the night. You might save a life.
  • Beware of polyconsumption. Combining drugs and alcohol can significantly increase impairment.
  • DUIs include cannabis. Law enforcement is trained to detect drivers impaired by marijuana.
  • Make a call. Never be afraid to call a friend or family member for a ride — they will understand.

For yearly impaired-driving crash and fatality data in Colorado, visit codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety/data-analysis/fatal-crash-data. For local law enforcement agency plans, visit 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. 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.