Police kick off multi-week holiday DUI crackdown

Heather Willard

Photo byColorado Department of Transportation

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Dec. 8, 2022

(Douglas County, Colo.) The Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado State Patrol and 65 local law enforcement agencies are coming together for the holiday high-visibility DUI enforcement period, reminding Coloradans to hand over the keys if they have been drinking or consuming cannabis.

The period is scheduled for Dec. 8-20. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies, alongside the Castle Rock Police Department, will spend the Dec. 9-11 days partnering with neighboring agencies and MADD Colorado for the #TieOneOnForSafety campaign. The office’s cruisers will bear red ribbon magnets to honor the victims and survivors of DUI incidents.

According to CDOT, 31 people were killed on Colorado roads during the 2016-2021 Christmas holiday periods. This year, 36% of traffic fatalities in Colorado have involved an impaired driver.

In Douglas County, 12 people have died from crashes involving drugs or alcohol in 2022. The state has reported 247 traffic fatalities involving an impaired driver this year. The counties with the highest fatalities are Adams (31), El Paso (24) and Denver (19).

“There’s no reason to risk your life in a crash, you have options,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It takes years to remove a DUI off your record and a lifetime to carry the guilt of taking an innocent life from choosing to drive intoxicated. Be intentional with your holiday plans and determine your ride home before you go out and live to celebrate the holidays.”

CDOT launched its “Nothing Uglier than a DUI” campaign last week, asking Coloradans to redeem Lyft ride credit to safely get to and from their destinations. Through Jan. 3, Coloradans can redeem a $10 ride credit using the code “DUISRUGLY” in the promotions section of the Lyft app. The ride credits are available statewide while supplies last. The credits must be redeemed overnight during 5 p.m. — 5 a.m. Use this link to apply the credit directly to the Lyft app from a mobile device.

Also, in 2022 there were 3,902 DUI arrests during increased DUI enforcement periods in the state. The recent Thanksgiving Week enforcement wave concluded with 268 arrests across 79 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were the Colorado State Patrol (78), Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (23) and Aurora Police Department (16). Lone Tree Police and Castle Rock Police each reported two arrests during the period for DUIs.

“Spending time with loved ones during the holidays is a joy that should not be ruined by a careless mistake,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety director. “Just one drink can impair you for up to two hours. If you drink, don’t drive. Everyone has a part in making sure we all get home safely.”

The next DUI enforcement period is the New Year’s Eve weekend from Dec. 29 – Jan. 3. During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement.

CDOT and police recommend Coloradans take the following steps to stay safe:

  • Make a plan to get home — this could be using a ride share program, a taxi or mass transit.
  • Designate a sober driver.
  • Have non-alcoholic beverages and food available for guests.
  • Download Responsibility.org’s Virtual Bar, which allows you to estimate your blood alcohol level based on what you drink and how fast (or slow) you drink, as well as food ingested
  • Don’t be afraid to take their keys or offer a place to spend the night.
  • Beware of combining drugs and alcohol, which can significantly increase impairment.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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