Drunk Driving in Colorado: Police Turn Up the Heat

turn up heat on Drunk Driving in ColoradoFor at least the next 5 weeks, things will get hotter for anyone drunk driving in Colorado.  The Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol are getting together in a massive campaign involving 83 law enforcement agencies to fight impaired driving.

The “Heat is On” campaign will involve extra roadblocks, more DUI saturation patrols, and extra officers, all in an effort to spot, test, and catch drunk drivers, and remove them from the road. The patrols and extra personnel will be deployed at times and places where impaired driving is more likely.

This visible law enforcement effort also has a deterrent effect, since people going out for an evening can see the increased police activity and thus make better decisions about their own drinking and driving.

The reason for turning the burner to “high?” So far 133 lives have been lost due to drunk driving in Colorado this year.  Since the usual count for alcohol-related road deaths in Colorado is around 150, the state appears to be ahead of schedule in this unfortunate respect.

For the record, once you are caught for DUI in Colorado, the heat stays on. Penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • License suspension for 9 months to 2 years, depending on prior offenses
  • Fines up to $1,500, depending on prior offenses
  • Ignition Interlock required for second and subsequent offenses. An ignition interlock prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 results in a DUI in Colorado (and everywhere in the US). However, if you are picked up with a BAC of between .05 and .08 you can be charged with DWAI (Driving With Ability Impaired), which entails similar punishments but which require more proof that driving ability was compromised.

The warning has been delivered. As you know, the temperature cools down all over Colorado in the fall. But for anyone who drives while buzzed, things will be hot indeed.