514 impaired drivers light up DUI Tree during Holiday Parties enforcement

Traffic Safety Pulse News

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and statewide law enforcement agencies recently wrapped up the Holiday Parties heightened DUI enforcement as part of The Heat Is On campaign to keep Coloradans safe from impaired drivers. During the 10-day enforcement period, 514 impaired drivers were arrested, a decrease from the 727 arrests made during this enforcement period in 2018.

As part of this year’s Holiday Parties DUI enforcement, CDOT is displaying the DUI Tree — a 3D holiday tree decorated with 100+ large white holiday lights — at the Denver Pavilions until Jan. 4. For every 10 DUIs reported during the enforcement period, a white bulb was replaced on the tree with a red or blue bulb to represent police lights. Signs accompanied the tree with the message, “You Choose — Holiday Lights or Police Lights.”  See photos of the DUI Tree here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p86dg9nza6lyigm/AACXQ95qCs0y5rVVN5KO8yc9a?dl=0

“Law enforcement officers were able to take hundreds of impaired drivers off of Colorado roads during the Holiday Parties enforcement period, and may have saved lives by doing so,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director of CDOT. “Impaired drivers put everyone else on the road at risk, and CDOT will continue to address this issue to help curb traffic fatalities in 2020. Drive sober every time you get behind the wheel. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.”

The Holiday Parties DUI enforcement included 95 statewide agencies. The Denver Police Department (52 arrests), Colorado Springs Police Department (40 arrests) and Loveland Police Department (27 arrests) reported the highest arrest totals among local agencies. CSP recorded 106 arrests. To access CDOT’s The Heat Is On arrest database for every enforcement period, visit bit.ly/HIOarrests. Arrest data can be sorted by law enforcement agency, county and enforcement period.

“CSP and participating law enforcement agencies did their best to keep impaired drivers off of the roads, as seen by the police lights on the DUI Tree,” said Matthew Packard, Chief of CSP. "Removing impaired drivers from Colorado roadways means everyone has a better chance of making it to their destinations safely."

The Heat Is On New Year’s Eve enforcement period ran from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2. With over 95% of agencies reporting, 360 arrests have been tallied.   

The Heat is On enforcement periods and DUI-prevention campaign support CDOT’s Whole System—Whole Safety initiative to reduce traffic injuries and deaths. In 2018, there were 209 passenger vehicle fatalities on Colorado roads involving impaired drivers, accounting for more than one-third of all traffic fatalities that year. A complete list of arrests can be found at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.


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 dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. Find more details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals, and safety tips at HeatIsOnColorado.com.