Memorial Day DUI enforcement begins Friday

Colorado News

STATEWIDE — To combat impaired driving during the upcoming summer months, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will join forces for the Memorial Day DUI enforcement period from May 28 to June 1. The enforcement period aims to remind Coloradans to celebrate responsibly over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

CDOT anticipates more Coloradans will be visiting bars and restaurants this summer and reminds all patrons to consume alcohol responsibility. Driving impaired, whether by alcohol or marijuana, can cost you. A DUI or DWAI can cost upwards of $13,500 in fines and legal fees. A DUI can also result in revoked license, increased insurance costs, jail time and a criminal record. Information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org

“In Colorado, first-time convictions of DUI’s include license revocation for nine months, a fine, public service requirements, and possible jail time. The penalties are high because DUI is a criminal charge, not a minor traffic violation,” said Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “The choice to drive impaired threatens your life and the lives of those around you. Make a plan before the party begins, so you never drive impaired.”

Earlier today, CDOT joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Colorado at an event in Colorado Springs to remind drivers to keep our military heroes safe on our roadways this Memorial Day by never driving impaired.  The following six United States military veterans killed by impaired drivers were honored during the event: 

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  • Detective Jeremy Stephen
  • Bitner, Englewood Police Department and United States Army –  Date of Death: 5/28/2012 in Arapahoe County. Was on a routine traffic stop on Broadway near Belleview.
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  • Specialist Kale Daren Clay,
  • United States Army – 2/13/2010 in El Paso County, CO -Served in Iraq and was home for 6 months prior to his death.  He was a passenger to an impaired driver, the other passenger, another friend, was also killed.
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  • Senior Airman Kristopher
  • G. Mansfield, United States Air Force  – 9/6/2004 in Denver – Served 5 ½ months in Iraq, was home for 4 months, was killed while riding his motorcycle.
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  • Brock Charles Severson, United
  • States Navy – 5/9/2018 in Weld County – riding his motorcycle, the impaired driver was on his phone, driving at excessive speeds and on the wrong side of the road.
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  • Senior Airman Michael Scott
  • Snyder, United States Air Force – 4/9/2014 in Aurora, CO – killed while riding his motorcycle by an impaired hit & run driver.
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  • Trooper Taylor Joseph Thyfault,
  • Colorado State Patrol and United States Army – 5/23/2015 in Boulder County – CSP Cadet for two months, investigating a crash when he was hit and killed by an impaired driver who was eluding law enforcement.
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The veterans’ families were in attendance as well as CSP and military personnel from local bases. MADD and CDOT urge anyone celebrating over the holiday weekend to do so responsibly by planning a sober ride to help keep everyone safe.

For the past five years, the month with the highest number of fatal crashes involving an impaired driver has been either June, July or August.  So far this year, 47 deaths on Colorado roadways have involved impaired drivers. 

“Driving impaired has always been and will continue to be a potentially life-altering decision,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “We understand everyone’s excitement to reenter public spaces and fulfill summer plans that have been delayed due to COVID-19. People still need to be responsible. If you plan to drink, plan a safe and sober ride to and from your destination.”

Ninety-one participating law enforcement agencies arrested 232 impaired drivers during last year’s Memorial Day DUI enforcement. This year, 86 agencies will increase DUI patrols statewide to remove impaired drivers from the roads.

During the recent Spring DUI enforcement, 99 agencies arrested 1,394 impaired drivers. With more drivers on the roads this year than last, this is an increase from last year’s 468 arrests during the same enforcement period. The Colorado Springs Police Department (178 arrests), Denver Police Department (135 arrests), and the El Paso County’s Sheriff’s Office (76 arrests) recorded the highest number of arrests during the enforcement. The Colorado State Patrol made 133 arrests. Local law enforcement agency plans and arrest results across the state 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

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 MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 350,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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.

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