4th of July weekend DUI enforcement begins Wednesday

News Release

July 2, 2024 - CDOT urges motorists not to risk their freedom with a DUI

La campaña de vigilancia de DUI del fin de semana del 4 de julio empieza el miércoles en español

Statewide — Never get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or cannabis — or you may be seeing red, white and blue in your rearview mirror. From July 3 to 8, the Colorado Department of Transportation will support the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 66 local law enforcement agencies for The Heat Is On Fourth of July DUI enforcement period. During the six-day enforcement period, drivers may see saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints and additional law enforcement officers on duty dedicated to arresting impaired drivers.

Protect your freedom to drive by never driving under the influence, CDOT says. Last year 228 people were killed in impaired driving crashes in Colorado.

As travel increases throughout the summer months, Colorado tends to see a spike in impaired driving-related fatalities. Last July, there were 91 traffic fatalities in Colorado, 24 of which involved a suspected impaired driver — ranking it the deadliest month of 2023. The state averaged 19 impaired driving-related fatalities per month in 2023, a decrease from the monthly average of 24 impaired driving-related fatalities in 2022.

“Since 2019, 29 people have been killed in crashes involving impaired drivers during the Independence Day travel period,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “If you’ll be consuming alcohol or cannabis this Fourth of July weekend, leave the keys behind. Make a plan to get home safely and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Do your part to keep Coloradans safe.”

Of the impaired driving-related fatalities in Colorado last year, over half (53%) were individuals 34 years old or younger. Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 often see the highest number of DUI arrests and impaired driving-related fatalities in the state. Motorists between the ages of 25 and 34 have accounted for nearly 33% of DUI arrests so far this year in Colorado.

Graph displaying the number of fatalities caused by impaired driving by age group in 2023
Data graph of Impaired Driving-Related Traffic Fatalities by Age in 2023. Number of fatalities: 0 to 20 years old: 24; 21 to 24 years old: 29; 25 to 34 years old: 57; 35 to 44 years old: 39; 45 to 54 years old: 29; 55 to 64 years old: 23; 65+ years old: 17. Data reported as of June 21, 2024. Source: Colorado Crash Data Dashboard.

“Alarmingly, of the 81 impaired driving-related fatalities on Colorado roads so far this year, 36 were not wearing their seat belt,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Driving sober, following the speed limit, putting distractions away and wearing your seat belt are the best ways to keep yourself and others safe on the road.”

Last year’s Fourth of July weekend enforcement period concluded with 167 reported DUI arrests. If you plan to host a party this weekend, make sure your guests stay safe by following the tips below:

  • Collect your guests’ car keys upon arrival. Or encourage them to designate a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service, taxi or public transportation.
  • Call a friend or family member for a guest if they have been drinking or offer them a place to stay if a sober ride home is unavailable.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least two hours before the party is over. Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic drink options.
  • Be persistent if a guest is intoxicated and planning to drive home. Explain that you care about their safety and cannot let them get behind the wheel.
  • Remember, as a host, you could be held liable if a guest you serve alcohol to gets in a crash.

Preliminary data shows that the recent Summer Blitz DUI enforcement period concluded with 370 arrests across 79 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were Colorado Springs Police Department (25), Larimer County Sheriff's Office (25) and Fort Collins Police Department (18). CSP reported 124 arrests. Following 4th of July weekend, the next DUI enforcement period will be Sturgis Rally from July 31 to August 13.

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

Crash Not Accident

Note to reporters: Crashes are no accident — they are preventable. We would appreciate you saying 'crash' instead of 'accident' when reporting.DUI

Checkpoint B-Roll

CDOT is making available new DUI checkpoint footage, available free for media use, offering a compelling glimpse of what happens during a checkpoint. The footage captures real-life interactions between law enforcement officers and drivers** at DUI checkpoints, highlighting the consequences of impaired driving. Access to the footage can be requested by emailing [email protected]. **The people portrayed in the videos signed participation waivers to be included in filming.