Don’t test your luck this weekend: St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement began Thursday

Traffic Safety Pulse News

During St. Patrick’s Day weekend, responsible Coloradans know not to get “sham-rocked” with a DUI. From March 14–20, the Colorado Department of Transportation is supporting the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 76 local law enforcement agencies for the St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement period. During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to arresting impaired drivers.

To encourage a weekend of safe rides, CDOT distributed rideshare credits at last Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Denver, in partnership with AAA Colorado. Parade attendees were encouraged to use public transportation, such as RTD, to avoid a DUI.

“It's up to each of us to behave responsibly during this year's St. Patrick’s Day celebration by planning to use alternate forms of transportation,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Luck won’t get you home safely if you’re impaired behind the wheel. And, never get in the car with someone you suspect is intoxicated. One bad choice could lead to a DUI, license suspension, serious injury or even loss of life.”

Orange graphic with photo of people wearing green clinking full beer glasses together. On graphic text reads "Keep your charm, avoid a DUI."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47 people were killed in DUI crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period in 2021. Last year in Colorado, 276 DUI arrests were made during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement. This is a 60% increase from the year before.

So far this year, there have been 24 impaired driving-related traffic deaths and 935 DUI arrests made during heightened enforcement periods in Colorado.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis is never responsible — DUI crashes are always preventable,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “This is all the more reason to seek out public transportation, rideshare services or a designated driver this holiday weekend.”

Using alcohol and cannabis together enhances the effect of each substance. With polyconsumption on the rise, CDOT wants everyone to know the effects of combining the two drugs.

  • Loss of coordination and problem-solving skills.
  • Distorted perception of time, distance and speed.
  • Slowed reaction time.

The recent Presidents Week enforcement period concluded with 300 arrests across 81 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were Denver Police Department (41), Colorado Springs Police Department (33) and Aurora Police Department (21). Spring Events is the next DUI enforcement period from April 4–24, amounting to 21 straight days of high visibility enforcement.