Impaired Driving

Never Drive Under the Influence 

A woman is holding a photo of her deceased daughter. 1 in 3 fatal car crashes involves an impaired driver. Shift into Safe.

Impaired driving costs Colorado lives. Last year in Colorado, too many impaired drivers in fatal crashes thought they were safe to drive. But they never are. In fact, 1 out of every 3 traffic deaths in Colorado involved an impaired driver. The science is clear — you’re a different driver under the influence. Your reaction time slows, and your peripheral vision is reduced. If you drink, always plan a safe ride home. Whether it’s a friend, family member, rideshare services or even public transportation. Together, we can save lives and keep Colorado safe. Get a safe ride home. Shift into safe.

Our campaign also has this video available in Spanish. Click here to access the Shift into Safe, Get a safe ride home Youtube video in Spanish.

CDOT’s No One is Above the Laws of Physics campaign aims to use science to create actual experiments to show how driving impaired affects drivers. For this statewide campaign, we worked carefully with Dr. Oswaldo Grenardo to create a campaign which shows how impaired driving impacts your reaction time. We also featured Trina Watkins-White, a Colorado mom who lost her daughter Ananiece Rose Foshee in 2016 in an impaired driving crash.

Shift into Safe

Shift into Safe is the name of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s traffic safety brand. Its name and mission both encourage all people in Colorado to actively change their mindset and make a conscious decision to pay attention and be safe every time they get behind a wheel. 

Shift into Safe seeks to change Colorado behaviors by using a cross-platform, multimedia marketing campaign to effectively reach drivers and change their behavior. Driven by science and inspired by Colorado, Shift into Safe is determined to make an impact on our roads to save lives, one driver at a time.

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.


Remember these safety tips to keep yourself and others safe:

Plan to Drink?

  • Plan a sober ride home before heading out.
  • Consider getting a sober ride to your destination so you won’t be tempted to later drive impaired. Options available include taxis, Uber, Lyft and public transit.
  • If you have a designated driver, ensure they are truly sober, not simply more sober than you are. Buzzed driving is still drunk driving.
  • If you’re ever unsure whether you are safe to drive, always err on the side of caution and find a sober ride home.

Hosting a Party?

  • Encourage your guests to designate a sober driver or plan for a safe ride home before heading over.
  • Create an Uber or Lyft group ride code for your party and share with your guests.
  • Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks and encourage your guests to bring their favorites to keep everyone fed and hydrated throughout the party.
  • Don’t forget that, as a host, if you serve a guest alcohol and he or she gets in a crash, you could be held liable.
  • Offer guests a night on your couch if a sober ride home is unavailable.

Are You the Designated Driver?

  • If you’re driving, do not drink. Your responsible choice can save lives.
  • Offer safe rides to those who may not have prepared a sober ride home.
  • Buckle up for safety and require all your passengers to do the same when it’s time to head home.
  • Even after only one or two drinks, some people may be close to or exceed Colorado’s DUI and DWAI limits.
    • 05 Percent BAC for DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)
    • 08 Percent BAC for DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
  • Even if your BAC is less than 0.05 percent, you can still be arrested for a DUI if an officer notices signs of impairment. The only absolute way to ensure you are safe to drive is to have a BAC of zero.
  • When considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs, a DUI can add up to more than $13,500.

BAC Factors

  • When calculating your BAC, you may find your level of impairment increases or decreases based on these factors:
    • Number of standard drinks
    • How quickly you drink
    • Gender
    • Body weight
    • How much food you’ve eaten
    • Body type
    • Fatigue
    • Hydration

Whatever ride-sharing service you prefer, make sure to request a sober ride before driving impaired.

Lyft is a ride-sharing service that dispatches the nearest available driver to your current location based on your phone's GPS. Simply download the mobile app to request a ride with the tap of a button. Visit the Lyft website to learn more. 

Uber Logo

Wherever you're headed, with just the tap of a button, you can get a safe ride with Uber. Visit the Uber website here

RTD Denver Logo

With more than 170 bus routes, 12 rail lines, and many specialty services, RTD makes it easy to get around town. Hop on board today. Learn more about RTD-Denver here.

  • In 2023, Colorado lost 716 lives to traffic fatalities. This includes 218 lives lost to impaired driving, a 23.8% decrease from the 286 impaired driving-related fatalities in 2022.
  • According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Colorado Crime Statistics, there were 16,259 DUI cases filed in 2023.
    • The age group with the highest number of arrests was individuals aged 25 to 34, totaling 5,431 arrests.
  • The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice published a report in July 2023 that analyzed 2020 data from more than 21,000 impaired driving cases filed in Colorado. The report found:
    • 18% of drivers screened for drugs tested positive for multiple substances. The most common combination of drugs detected was alcohol and delta-9 THC, which is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis.
    • 75% of individuals with detected delta-9 THC also had some other substance present. Alcohol was the most common co-occurring substance.
  • Across all 16 The Heat Is On DUI enforcement periods in 2023, 6,782 DUI arrests were made.
    • The agencies with the highest number of DUI arrests were: Colorado State Patrol (1,363), Colorado Springs Police Department (784), Denver Police Department (559), Larimer County Sheriff's Office (270), Lakewood Police Department (257) and Longmont Police Department (244).
  • In 2019, Colorado began screening for all drugs following a fatal DUI crash, not just alcohol. In addition, law enforcement has significantly enhanced its ability to identify and arrest drivers on a wide variety of substances. For example:
    • The majority of Colorado State Patrol troopers have specialized training in drug detection, known as ARIDE (Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement).
    • There are over 120 Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) in Colorado. A DRE is a law enforcement officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.