For many, the new year marks a time for self-improvement, reflection and growth. For those who decide to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, it could mean jail time, steep fines and other penalties. From Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will increase DUI enforcement during New Year’s weekend celebrations.
The heightened enforcement is part of The Heat Is On campaign and could include checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. Last year, 106 agencies arrested 279 impaired drivers during the 5-day enforcement period.
“More than one-third of all traffic fatalities this year involved an impaired driver,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “It takes one person’s bad decision to change many lives forever. Plan a sober ride before you start celebrating.”
So far, there have been 226 impairment-related traffic fatalities on Colorado roads in 2017, exceeding last year’s total of 191 impairment-involved deaths.
“People often forget the financial, legal — and most importantly — the safety implications of driving impaired,” said Col. Matthew Packard, Chief of CSP. “There is absolutely no need to risk driving under the influence with the many transportations options available. We hope Coloradans will look out for one another this New Year’s and help each other make smart decisions.”
If you’re hosting a party or other New Year’s gathering, consider these tips to help prevent impaired driving:
· Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available
· Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the end of the party
· Use smaller serving cups to keep alcoholic beverages to the appropriate size
· Plan activities and games that do not involve alcohol to reduce consumption
· Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys if they’ve had too much to drink, or if they’ve ingested any impairing substance like prescription drugs, sleep medication, marijuana or any form of illegal drug
In addition to taxis, Uber and Lyft, several promotions will be available to get New Year’s partygoers home safely:
- RTD and Coors Light will offer complimentary bus and rail service from 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1 as part of the “Freeze the Keys” DUI-prevention effort. For more information, visit www3.rtd-denver.com/elbert/news/index.cfm?id=7785.
- The Sawaya Law Firm’s “Free Cab Ride Program” will offer a ride from one location to the passenger’s home, in the Denver metro area. Once the passenger has paid for a cab, they can send the receipt to the The Sawaya Law Firm for reimbursement. For more information, visit: sawayalaw.com/resources/free-cab-ride-program.
- New Year’s revelers in Colorado Springs and Pueblo can take advantage of the McCormick & Murphy P.C. Law Firm’s “No DUI! Free Holiday Rides” promotion to receive reimbursement on cab, Lyft or Uber rides. For more information, visit: mccormickmurphy.com/community/no-dui-free-rides.