Colorado law enforcement agencies will launch an intensive DUI crackdown Friday known as "100 Days of Heat." The goal is to reverse a trend of deadly summer months caused by alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers. Last year in Colorado, 67 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, representing 36% of the 185 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2011. Those fatalities were up 19% last year from a record low 150 deaths involving alcohol in 2010.
"The fact that alcohol-related traffic deaths went up last year should be a wake-up call to everyone. Drunk and drug-impaired driving remains a serious crime in our state, and it's time we all work together to put an end to it and save lives," said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "Citizens can do their part by reporting suspected drunk drivers -- by dialing Star CSP/*277 a free cell call -- and by taking responsibility to plan ahead by designating a sober driver or taking public transportation if celebrating with alcohol. And please remember to always buckle up -- three out of four people killed last year in drunk-driving crashes were not wearing a seat belt."
Of the 185 fatalities last year involving alcohol, 67 (36%) occurred between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. The worst month of 2011 was July when 24 people were killed. That was followed by May with 23 alcohol-related traffic deaths and June with 22.
According to preliminary 2011 data, Denver County had the highest number of alcohol-related fatalities with 19, followed by Pueblo County with 16, El Paso and Weld counties with 15 each, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties with 13 each, and Adams County with 12.
During last year's "100 Days of Heat" summer enforcement periods, more than 2,634 Colorado drivers were arrested for impaired driving.
The minimum cost for a first-time DUI is $10,270. A DUI arrest will also result in jail time, loss of a driver's license or ignition interlock, mandatory alcohol education classes and community service. For more consequences, resources and to find out what happens after a DUI arrest, visit www.NoDUIcolorado.org.
"The consequences of impaired driving can be devastating financially and personally, but become even more severe if you injure or kill someone. DUIs and alcohol-related fatalities are totally preventable when people plan ahead and make the right choice," said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety. "CDOT will continue to support statewide law enforcement agencies with state and federal grants, as well as with public education campaigns like the "Heat Is On" to help keep drunk and drugged drivers off our roadways."
The Colorado State Patrol and more than 90 law enforcement agencies plan to conduct saturation and increased patrols over Memorial Day Weekend. The following agencies plan to hold sobriety checkpoints this weekend:
Friday, May 25
Aurora Police Department
Denver Police Department
Lakewood Police Department
Saturday, May 26
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
CSP Troop 3A and Weld County Task Force
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office will be conducting DUI (Driving under the Influence) saturation patrols this coming Memorial Day weekend. The Sheriff has assigned extra deputies to patrol specifically looking for persons driving under the influence.