CDOT, Colorado State Patrol holiday weekend DUI enforcement has begun | VailDaily.com

CDOT, Colorado State Patrol holiday weekend DUI enforcement has begun

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com

EAGLE COUNTY — The Heat is On DUI enforcement campaign will return for Memorial Day weekend, as Coloradans celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Ninety-six law enforcement agencies are participating across the state. The heightened enforcement is a collaborative effort conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement. The increased enforcement began Friday, May 26, and ends Tuesday, May 30. In 2016, 372 impaired drivers were arrested for DUI during the Memorial Day enforcement period, and one person was killed due to an alcohol-related crash.

"As we enter the warmer summer months, CDOT hopes fewer people will drive impaired and, instead, plan ahead whenever drinking alcohol," said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. "The number of DUI arrests we saw last year underscores the importance of the enforcement periods. Unfortunately, people continue to risk their lives and the lives of others on the road by driving impaired."

In addition to CDOT and the State Patrol, 108 Colorado law-enforcement agencies recently completed The Heat is On Spring Events DUI enforcement, aiming to remove impaired drivers from the roads during the start of seasonal activities, including baseball games and graduation parties that commonly involve alcohol consumption. Statewide, a total of 1,936 impaired drivers were arrested during the six-week crackdown, an increase from the 1,870 arrests during the same enforcement period last year. Most of the arrests were by the State Patrol (293), Colorado Springs Police Department (201), Denver Police Department (191) and the Aurora Police Department (162).

"Even a couple drinks can impair a person's ability to drive," Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Scott Hernandez said. "While it's easy to focus on the fun and festivities over the Memorial Day weekend, if everyone takes a moment to plan a sober ride home, the roads will be much safer for everyone."

In a new report by NoDUIColorado, Colorado drivers convicted of a first-time DUI can, on average, expect to spend a minimum of 170 hours dealing with the consequences. That's the equivalent of more than a month of full-time employment. This includes time associated with ignition interlock requirements, alcohol and drug education and therapy classes, probation, community service, court and the license reinstatement process. In addition, a DUI can cost a person more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.

CDOT's R-U-Buzzed app is a DUI-prevention tool that allows users to track their blood-alcohol content level based on information they enter and automatically connects users to popular ride-hailing services. Download the free R-U-Buzzed app for iPhone and Android at onelink.to/r-u-buzzed. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips, can be found at http://www.heatisoncolorado.com.