The time of year is upon us when coworkers, friends and family gather to celebrate the joys of the holiday season. As these celebrations are underway, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is once again teaming with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and nearly 100 law enforcement agencies across the state to encourage partygoers to celebrate responsibly. The enforcement period – Friday, Dec. 5 through Monday, Dec. 15 – surrounding these holiday parties is part of CDOT’s ongoing The Heat Is On impaired driving prevention campaign.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year because people are in good spirits and it’s a time to celebrate all of our successes in 2014,” said Amy Ford, CDOT Communications Director. “We encourage good times and celebration but want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, so we urge partygoers to not drive impaired.”
If the Thanksgiving DUI enforcement period is any indication of what the holiday season holds, it should be an eventful one for law enforcement agencies statewide. 345 arrests were made over Thanksgiving weekend this year, with Denver (48), Aurora (43), Colorado Springs (24) and CSP (60) leading the charge in DUI arrests. There were two alcohol-related fatalities during the period. In 2013, there were 19 fatalities on Colorado roadways during the holiday season, 11 of which were alcohol-related, and more than 1,500 Coloradans arrested for a DUI from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
“No one should have to deal with being arrested or losing a loved one around the holidays,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “CSP and all the local law enforcement agencies hope drivers make the right decision before heading to their holiday parties this year and find a sober driver or an alternate way home.”
“Everyone deserves the chance for a safe, wonderful holiday,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “The second someone chooses to drive impaired, they not only put their own lives at risk but also the lives of every other driver on the roadway.”
The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. More details about the campaign, including DUI enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips, can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.