Holiday Parties DUI enforcement begins tomorrow
Today, the Colorado Department of Transportation launched a new campaign to draw attention to impaired driving during the holidays. Offering a lighthearted approach to a serious topic, the agency has created a series of mug shots featuring Santa, Rudolf, and The Grinch, who each made the selfish decision to drive impaired. This campaign coincides with the start of the Holiday Parties DUI enforcement period, which begins tomorrow and continues through Dec. 20. CDOT will support Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 71 local law enforcement agencies during this time of heightened enforcement, which will increase safety patrols across the state.
While Colorado has seen a 20 percent decrease in traffic fatalities involving an impaired driver this year, the holiday season can be a dangerous time on the roads. According to a survey conducted by Forbes Advisor, nearly 40% of people have seen holiday party-goers drive intoxicated after festivities.
To date, 208 people have been killed in crashes involving an impaired driver in Colorado this year, about one-third of all traffic deaths in the state. Last December, 48 people were killed on Colorado roads, 24 of those deaths involving an impaired driver.
“When you gather with your friends, family, and co-workers this festive season, please make a plan for a sober ride,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Everybody deserves to get home to their loved ones. Don’t forget all the reasons you should drive sober – this time of year and always.”
CDOT is displaying the holiday mug shots at bars throughout Denver and Colorado Springs. The campaign aims to remind Coloradans that no one is above the law — not even Santa Claus.
Keep your holidays merry and bright by incorporating a sober ride into your festivities this season. The consequences of a DUI will cost you more than your time. Penalties for first-time DUI offenders are determined by the court and may vary but could cost someone an average of $13,530 and a minimum of 170 hours of their time dealing with the consequences. According to NoDUIColorado.org, offenders could rack up the costs below in addition to any criminal fines:
Increased auto insurance: $3,600
Ignition interlock service: $2,172
Alcohol/drug treatment & education: $1,000
Defense attorney: $3,650
Arrest, court & legal fees: $2,300
Department of Revenue & DMV fees: $773
“Last year’s holiday enforcement period resulted in 470 DUI arrests. Driving impaired puts others in danger and greatly increases the risk of a fatal crash,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “If you plan to consume alcohol or cannabis at holiday gatherings, make the responsible choice and plan for a safe and sober ride home.”
In addition, the CSP is conducting saturation patrols from Dec. 8 through the morning of Dec. 10. This enforcement will specifically target impaired drivers in Jefferson, Clear Creek, and Gilpin counties. Combined, these counties have seen 114 impaired-related fatalities and 695 crashes. This effort aims to raise awareness of impaired driving and promote finding a designated driver.
The recent Thanksgiving Week enforcement period concluded with 242 arrests across 83 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were Aurora Police Department (22), Lakewood Police Department (19) and Longmont Police Department (13). CSP reported 77 arrests. The next DUI enforcement period will be over New Year’s Eve weekend from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.
For yearly impaired-driving crash and fatality data in Colorado, visit https://www.codot.gov/safety/