RBC I Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning for Colorado’s summer events and outdoor activities, providing plenty of opportunities for alcohol and marijuana consumption. As the weather warms, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies throughout the state want to remind summer enthusiasts to enjoy themselves, but do so responsibly by not driving impaired.
Through The Heat Is On campaign, law enforcement will crack down on impaired drivers throughout the summer, with a first major effort having taken place over Memorial Day weekend.
“Summer is a time when people drive to an event like a concert or BBQ, have a few drinks and think they’re OK to get back behind the wheel,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Driving impaired not only puts you and everyone else on the road at risk, but will also cost more than $10,000 if you receive a DUI. Remember: drink and don’t drive, it’s that simple.”
In 2013, there were 188 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities and 36 percent of those occurred between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. And through The Heat Is On campaign, 2,386 people were arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI/.08 BAC) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI/.05 BAC).
“Warmer weather brings more people on the roads,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “As more people get on the road to travel, we hope they will be responsible and drive sober. Motorists need to face the fact that if they drive impaired, we will catch them. Our goal is always zero deaths on our roadways.”
This year, to go along with the increased enforcement, CDOT has created informational cards about impaired driving in Colorado to be handed out at DUI checkpoints across the state. The checkpoint cards were created in memory of Senior Airman Kristopher Mansfield, who was killed by a drunk driver on Sept. 6, 2004, just a few weeks after returning from duty in Iraq.
The Heat Is On campaign runs the entire year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large, public events. More details about the DUI enforcement plans and arrest results can be found at HeatIsOn Colorado.com.