CDOT reminds Coloradans: Don’t drop the ball with a DUI this holiday weekend


Fireworks over Pikes Peak

Photo by Bryce Bradford.

Ring in the new year responsibly with a safe and sober ride home. From Dec. 28 to Jan. 3, the Colorado Department of Transportation will support the Colorado State Patrol and 68 local law enforcement agencies for the New Year’s Eve Weekend DUI enforcement period. This time of increased safety patrols across the state will remove impaired drivers from roads and encourage Coloradans to start 2024 safely.

It is common to consume alcohol or cannabis during their New Year’s Eve celebrations, making this time of year especially dangerous for Colorado drivers. Seven people were killed on Colorado roads during last year’s New Year’s Eve holiday period, the highest reported since 2016. To date in 2023, there have been 208 impaired driving fatalities in Colorado.

“Although most Coloradans never drink and drive, it only takes a handful of selfish people to devastate a family or community. Last year, 168 DUI arrests were made during the New Year’s Eve Weekend enforcement period,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Make the smart choice this new year and give up your keys if you’ve been drinking. Even buzzed driving is drunk driving and can result in a DUI arrest.”

In an effort to reduce impaired driving this New Year’s Eve, Colorado-based organizations are offering alternatives to get home safely. The Wilhite Law Firm will reimburse rideshare costs up to $35 as part of its Holiday Rideshare Program this New Year’s to curb impaired-related crashes. For more information on the Holiday Rideshare Program, click here.

“Don’t start your year with a DUI. Whatever your plans are this weekend, getting behind the wheel if you’re under the influence is unacceptable,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Impaired driving-related fatalities are always preventable. We’re counting on Coloradans to make the responsible choice this New Year’s.”

If you plan to host a party this weekend, make sure your guests stay safe by following the tips below:

  • Collect your guests’ car keys upon arrival. Or, encourage them to designate a sober driver or plan to use a ride-sharing service, taxi or public transportation.
  • Call a friend or family member for a guest if they have been drinking, or offer a place to stay if a sober ride home is unavailable.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least two hours before the party is over, and provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic drink options.
  • Be persistent if a guest is intoxicated and planning to drive home. Explain that you care about their safety and cannot let them get behind the wheel.
  • Remember, as a host, you could be held liable if a guest you serve alcohol to gets in a crash.

During enforcement periods, drivers may see sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols or additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. The recent Holiday Parties enforcement period concluded with 213 arrests across 80 participating agencies. The agencies with the highest arrests were Colorado Springs Police Department (43), Aurora Police Department (19) and Brighton Police Department (19). The next DUI enforcement period will be Winter Blitz from Jan. 11 through 24.

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

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.