We can’t all be heroes, but we can all choose to be sober behind the wheel. This Memorial Day holiday, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement ask Coloradans to make the responsible decision to never drive impaired.
The high-visibility Memorial Day Weekend DUI enforcement will run from May 27 to June 5, the first of six increased enforcement efforts during the summer.
So far this year, 72 people have been killed in impaired driving crashes in the state. That’s twice as many from the 36 deaths in the same timeframe in 2019. The DUI enforcement comes as fatalities on Colorado roads are the highest they’ve been in nearly two decades. Last year, impaired drivers were suspected in 232 fatal crashes in Colorado.
Historically, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest on Colorado roads. Over the last decade, more than 57% of the Memorial Day weekend fatalities involved suspected impaired driving. Last year’s Memorial Day Weekend enforcement resulted in 223 DUI arrests.
“While it may feel like many things in our lives are ‘out of control’, how we drive and when we drive is 100% our call,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Kick off summer safely by committing to never consuming alcohol or drugs and then drive. Honor those who have lost their lives due to the bad choice made by an impaired driver by making the right call every time.”
This week, CDOT joined Anheuser-Busch, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Uber to expand the Decide to Ride campaign in Colorado. Discounts on Uber rides will be available locally to help prevent drunk driving in Denver this summer. The campaign began last year as part of a first-of-its-kind coalition aimed at bringing an end to drunk driving. Building on last year’s launch, the public-private partnership will bring the campaign to life through advertisements and promotions at local events sharing a key message for consumers — “If You Drink, Don’t Drive. Decide to Ride.”
“With so many deaths and injuries on our roads, we’re grateful for the increased efforts by our law enforcement partners to ensure our roads are safe from drunk and drugged drivers,” said Fran Lanzer, MADD Colorado Executive Director. “As we take a moment over Memorial Day weekend to remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation, we can all do our part to keep our Colorado communities safe by making the right choice – if you drink, don’t drive. We are proud to partner with CDOT on the Decide to Ride campaign.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2020 annual crash data, fatalities in alcohol-impaired driving crashes were up 14% in 2020 compared to 2019, with 212 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Colorado alone.
“There is no reason your summer should include a DUI,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “DUI’s are entirely preventable with so many ways to get home safe. Don’t risk your life or a DUI. Plan ahead and leave the driving to a sober individual.”
The most recent enforcement period surrounding St. Patrick’s Day saw 172 arrests made across 81 participating agencies — bringing the year-to-date total of DUI arrests made during enforcement periods to 579.
Enforcement period efforts often include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty specifically for impaired driving enforcement. Local law enforcement agency plans can be found at https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.
For yearly impaired-driving crash and fatality data in Colorado, visit https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety/crash-data-management/fatal-crash-data. For trends involving impaired driving court cases, drug toxicology results and other impaired driving data, visit the Colorado Driving Under the Influence dashboard at https://ors.colorado.gov/ors-dui.