CDOT: Don’t test your luck this weekend: St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement begins Thursday


St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Colorado Springs

During this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, responsible Coloradans know not to get “sham-rocked” with a DUI. From March 14–20, the Colorado Department of Transportation will support the Colorado State Patrol and 76 local law enforcement agencies for the St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement period. During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to arresting impaired drivers. 

“It’s up to each of us to behave responsibly during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration by planning to use alternate forms of transportation,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Luck won’t get you home safely if you’re impaired behind the wheel. And, never get in the car with someone you suspect is intoxicated. One bad choice could lead to a DUI, license suspension, serious injury or even loss of life.” 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 47 people were killed in DUI crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period in 2021. Last year in Colorado, 276 DUI arrests were made during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement. This is a 60% increase from the year before. 

So far this year, there have been 24 impaired driving-related traffic deaths, and 935 DUI arrests made during heightened enforcement periods in Colorado.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis is never responsible — DUI crashes are always preventable,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “This is all the more reason to seek out public transportation, rideshare services or a designated driver this holiday weekend.”

Using alcohol and cannabis together enhances the effect of each substance. With polyconsumption on the rise, CDOT wants everyone to know the effects of combining the two drugs. 

  • Loss of coordination and problem-solving skills. 
  • Distorted perception of time, distance and speed.
  • Slowed reaction time.

The recent Presidents Week enforcement period concluded with 300 arrests across 81 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were Denver Police Department (41), Colorado Springs Police Department (33) and Aurora Police Department (21). Spring Events is the next DUI enforcement period from April 4–24, amounting to 21 straight days of high visibility enforcement. 

For yearly impaired driving crash and fatality data in Colorado, visit codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety/data-analysis/fatal-crash-data. For local law enforcement agency plans, visit codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.

About The Heat Is On

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

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s mission is to provide the best multi-modal transportation system that most effectively and safely moves people, goods and information. CDOT maintains more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,400 bridges and 35 mountain passes. Our team of employees works tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. CDOT leverages partnerships with a range of private and public organizations and operates Bustang, an interregional express bus service. Find more details at codot.gov.