EAGLE COUNTY — If you’re watching the Super Bowl anywhere but in the comfort of your own home, then do not, under any circumstances, have one for the road.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol, along with local law enforcement agencies, are keeping a close eye on illegal motion — drunk driving. Increased enforcement will be in place through Monday to arrest impaired drivers, whether for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription or illegal drugs.
“With the Broncos playing in the Super Bowl, we expect house parties and full bars and restaurants throughout Colorado,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Motorists can expect to see a visible presence from law enforcement this weekend, working to keep impaired drivers off the roads.”
The Super Bowl is one time of year when the number of DUI arrests increases, the Department of Transportation says. In 2013, 421 DUI arrests were made during Super Bowl weekend, up from 275 in 2012.
“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Transportation Safety. “Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the Broncos’ offense is the exact opposite and cannot be stopped.”
If you’re watching the Super Bowl away from home, then remember to don your Broncos gear and make a plan before the game starts, whether that’s having a sober friend or family member give you a ride, calling a cab or taking public transportation.
“And always buckle up — it’s still your best defense against drunk drivers,” Lingk said.
The Heat Is On program runs the entire year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large, public events such as Super Bowl weekend.
The last one was the New Years holiday, and for the most part locals behaved themselves. In Vail, for example, no one had to go to the drunk tank, although a few people landed in the crossbar hotel for cannabis consumption in public. It’s illegal to smoke anything in public in Vail, including the newly legal marijuana, said Justin Liffick, an officer with the Vail Police Department.
Overall, 6,989 people were arrested during 12 enforcement periods in 2013, a 28 percent decrease from the 9,784 arrests reported during the same enforcement periods in 2012.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.