CDOT wants Coloradans to fill every seat at the Thanksgiving table

News Release

November 16, 2022 - Statewide - Increased DUI enforcement will help keep roads safe

Haga clic aquí para ver este comunicado de prensa CDOT quiere que todas las personas en Colorado se sienten a la mesa a celebrar el Día de Acción de Gracias en español.

Statewide — As Coloradans prepare their Thanksgiving meal lineup, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement are making preparations of their own. The first of three holiday DUI enforcement periods kick off with the Thanksgiving Week enforcement from Nov. 17-30. Increased DUI patrols and prevention plans are in the works to remove impaired drivers from our roads to help everyone travel safely.

Impaired driving increases over Thanksgiving due in part to the cultural phenomena known as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving”, which involves the heavy consumption of alcohol and drugs throughout the holiday weekend. To date in 2022, there have been a total of 226 impaired driving fatalities on Colorado roads.

2022 impaired driving fatalities by highest counties in Colorado with Adams County at 28, El Paso County at 20, Denver County at 19, Pueblo County at 16, Arapahoe County at 15, and Jefferson County at 15.

“Driving impaired isn't a mistake, it's a crime. With so many safe-ride options available, you should never make the choice of driving under the influence,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We want all drivers on our road to be safe so that every seat can be filled at the holiday table. Driving intoxicated puts your life at risk and everyone around you. So stop the excuses and plan a sober ride.”

Last year in Colorado, 16 traffic deaths occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday, with five of those involving suspected impaired drivers. From 2019-2021, there were 1,343 reported DUI arrests over the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. That is over 45 DUI arrests per day. 

“Enjoying holiday traditions is a top priority for Coloradans over Thanksgiving. One of those traditions should be making it home safely and avoiding driving impaired,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Although most people do the right thing, we encourage everyone, even if they are going a short distance, to make a plan and follow through with it. A DUI arrest should never be a part of your holiday.”

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

  • 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.
  • If you live in a rural area with fewer transportation options, always designate a sober driver to bring you home safely. 
  • If you are hosting a party, make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food available for your guests.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk-driving-related crashes spike during Thanksgiving, with as many as 185 people having lost their lives during the 2020 Thanksgiving period. From 2016-2020, NHTSA reported 821 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes during the holiday, with males more likely than females to be killed in an alcohol-impaired crash. 

The next DUI enforcement periods are the Holiday Parties enforcement from Dec. 8-20, followed by New Year’s Eve weekend from Dec. 29 – Jan. 3. 

The recent Halloween Weekend enforcement period concluded with 130 arrests across 76 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were the Colorado Springs Police Department (22), Denver Police Department (19), Lakewood Police Department (12) and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement.

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