Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer will see Colorado law enforcement agencies launch an intensive DUI crackdown Friday, May 25, 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 percent of the 185 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2011. Those fatalities were up 19 percent last year from a record low 150 deaths involving alcohol in 2010, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
"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 Col. 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."
Officials also urge everyone to remember to buckle up - three out of four people killed last year in drunk-driving crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
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.
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 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