From Aug. 16 through Sept. 3, the Colorado State Patrol and law enforcement agencies across the state will be increasing their presence through increased patrols, saturation patrols and checkpoints to keep Coloradans safe from impaired drivers. Last year, more than 1,400 Colorado residents were arrested for impaired driving offenses and 13 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes during the Labor Day crackdown.
Launched in Colorado in 1996, Colorado Department of Transportation’s “The Heat Is On” campaign educates drivers about high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods throughout the year, many of which coincide with major holidays such as Labor Day. This year, CDOT is altering its approach by acknowledging that drinking tends to be a common activity, especially during a holiday weekend. The campaign’s new tagline turns the well-know phrase “Don’t Drink and Drive” on its head by educating people who choose to drink to “Drink & Don’t Drive.”
The campaign recognizes that people do make that choice. The campaign targets males, ages 21-34, because they have a higher propensity for dying in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. In 2012, there were 190 alcohol-related fatalities. Of those, 36 percent were males between the ages of 18 and 34.
“First and foremost, ‘The Heat Is On’ has been about preventing impaired driving,” says Amy Ford, Director of Communications at CDOT. “Our new campaign tagline allows us to maintain our focus while showing that we understand people are going to consume alcohol, and that is fine as long as they do it responsibly and don’t drive.”
This enforcement period coincides with the nationwide impaired driving crackdown through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. More details about the campaign, including DUI enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.