News

Make your own luck: Don’t drive impaired, plan a sober ride for St Patrick's Day

March 12, 2021 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Colorado residents get 30% discount on BACtrack breathalyzers through March 21

STATEWIDE — It’s no secret that St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated with four leaf clovers, bright green clothing, and alcoholic drinks. Ahead of the holiday, the Colorado Department of Transportation, along with Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement, are urging all Coloradans to drink responsibly and plan ahead for a sober ride. The St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement period runs March 12-18. 

Safety remains a key factor in all CDOT initiatives, which is why CDOT urges the public to follow all COVID-19 guidelines.

"We appreciate that people are tired of nights in and are looking for a reason to celebrate. However, feeling cooped up is no excuse to behave carelessly, including driving with drugs and alcohol in your system," stated Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. "Historical trends tell us that more people drink alcohol in the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day, therefore we will be prepared for an increase in impaired drivers. It's not worth the risk - there are plenty of alternatives to driving impaired, and we encourage all Coloradans to plan for sober rides."

Almost 100 law enforcement agencies will increase DUI patrols during the 2021 St Patrick's Day DUI Enforcement period. The 2020 St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement period resulted in the arrest of 195 impaired drivers. 

Heat is On Graph

The recent Presidents Week DUI period resulted in 350 DUI arrests. This is a decrease from last year’s 578 arrests during the same enforcement period. The Colorado Springs Police Department (51 arrests), Denver Police Department (34 arrests), and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (20 arrests) recorded the highest number of arrests during the enforcement period. The Colorado State Patrol made 53 arrests. Results for all law enforcement agencies across the state can be found at https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.

Even if you are below the legal BAC limit, you can still be impaired and arrested for a DUI. In Colorado in 2018, there were 1,227 DUI cases with a reported BAC between .05%-.079% and 523 cases with a reported BAC below .05%.

“The legal BAC limit for a DUI is .08%, but you can be arrested at a lower level if an officer suspects impairment,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the CDOT Highway Safety Office. “Don’t take the chance. Eliminate potential consequences of driving impaired by always planning a sober ride.”

CDOT’s 2-Hourglass display is still on-site at Hazel’s Beverage World as a reminder to never drive impaired. The display’s message that the only way to ensure someone is safe to drive is to have a BAC of zero is a timely reminder ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. It will remain on-site at Hazel’s through the enforcement period. CDOT has also partnered with BACtrack®, a leading breathalyzer company, to offer Colorado residents a limited-time discount of 30% off a personal breathalyzer from March 8-21, or while supplies last. Personal breathalyzers can be purchased at codot.bactrack.com.

Find local agency plans and total arrests for The Heat Is On enforcement periods at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal. Information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org

About The Heat is On

The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year, with 16 specific high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. Find more details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips at HeatIsOnColorado.com. More information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org. Learn more about CDOT’s dedication to keeping Colorado roads safe, including impaired driving enforcement objectives, arrest data and safety information at codot.gov/safety.

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.