DUI enforcement efforts ramp up for the holiday season

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Law enforcement has made 5,773 arrests during The Heat Is On enforcement periods in 2020

With holiday excitement growing as Thanksgiving approaches, CDOT, CSP and local law enforcement agencies statewide will unite for a high-visibility DUI enforcement period from Nov. 20-30. CDOT encourages all Coloradans to celebrate safely by arranging sober rides and following COVID-19 safety guidelines. During the Thanksgiving enforcement period last year, 99 statewide agencies arrested 430 impaired drivers.

"One easy way to ensure a happy holiday is to make plans for safe and sober driving before the festivities begin. Don't wait until the party starts and then guess who is the "least drunk" or "least high" person in the room," stated Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. " Impaired decisions are impulsive with no regard to your future or those traveling around you. This holiday season, your Troopers and local law enforcement agencies will have an increased presence on our roadways looking for dangerous and impaired drivers who failed to plan."

During the Halloween weekend enforcement period from Oct. 29-Nov. 2, law enforcement arrested 198 impaired drivers, with the Denver Police Department (21 arrests), Colorado Springs Police Department (18 arrests), and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (14 arrests) reporting the highest number of arrests. This is a decrease from the 250 arrests made during the same period in 2019.

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are asking people to limit social gatherings over the holidays,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director of CDOT. “But if people find themselves in a situation in which they are drinking, they should know it is easy to underestimate their level of impairment and plan for a sober ride home no matter how much they have consumed.”

Thanksgiving DUI Enforcement

CDOT is reminding people to only interact with people from their household this Thanksgiving to help slow the alarming spread of COVID-19. This holiday season is an opportunity to reimagine what togetherness can look like and come up with creative ways to celebrate loved ones while making sure they stay healthy for many more years to come. Dos and don’ts for Thanksgiving celebrations include: 1) Do cook and eat a special meal with members of your immediate household; 2) Do video chat or talk on the phone with friends and family who don’t live with you; 3) Do wear a mask and keep 6 feet of distance from others while grocery shopping; and 4) Don’t travel to visit family and friends in other households.

During The Heat Is On enforcement periods last year, law enforcement agencies across the state made approximately 7,837 DUI arrests from January through October. During the same timeframe this year, law enforcement has made 5,773 arrests. Although the number of arrests is fewer, the percentage of impaired driving fatalities has stayed the same — about 30% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado are impairment-related. Everyone across the state must do their part to keep themselves and others on the road safe by never driving impaired.

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. Results for all law enforcement agency arrests statewide can be found at https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.