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The Heat Is On Summer Blitz DUI Enforcement period

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:55 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2021 at 3:26 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Heat Is On this summer, which is the name for the statewide Summer Blitz DUI Enforcement period in June. The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies unite with the goal of removing impaired drivers from the road with increased law enforcement.

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.

Colorado State Patrol is cracking down on DUIs, especially this summer. As they see a lot more people driving under the influence in the summer months due to summer being the season for barbeques, camping, and family vacation.

Last year, 407 impaired drivers were arrested during the same enforcement period. Including 20 impaired-driving fatalities. So far this year, 69 traffic fatalities statewide have involved an impaired driver, which is 31% of all traffic deaths.

“We get a lot of DUI drivers coming from Highline Lake, and with Country Jam coming up we’re gonna be cracking down and ready for that with The Heat is on as well,” said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Patrick Rice. “Basically all the heat is on means is that we step up our enforcement. Sometimes we bring in extra cars and guys come in on their days off and we step up our enforcement on those days because history has proven that it’s a DUI rich time.”

CSP tells us everybody thinks when they’re looking for DUI drivers, they’re looking for people weaving all over the road. Of course that’s a big factor that draws a lot of attention. But changing speeds, 20 below the speed limit to 20 over the speed limit, and back and forth. Or simply going 5 under the speed limit is a red flag.

“While that may not be a reason to stop them, it can catch our attention as being overly careful and eventually people tend to make some mistakes in their driving because they’re distracted or they’re thinking too hard about trying to stay safe on the road,” said Rice.

Interestingly, CSP also told us the more dangerous DUI driver is the person who’s barely over the limit because they don’t think that they’re a threat.

“Super focused, more so than usual drivers is kind of unheard of for most people to stare through their steering wheel or just over,” said CSP Trooper Matthew Coonts. “Most people are driving relaxed, mostly defensive but they’re still at a relaxed position instead of super focused on what’s ahead of them, not using their peripheral vision to see what’s going on around them.”

CSP also wants to remind the community that a DUI is not just alcohol impairment.

“When you have so many different impairments in today’s world than just alcohol, there’s a lot of things to look for,” said Rice. “Many people think that when they watch roadside maneuvers on television, they think they know what we’re looking for. And the fact of the matter is we’re looking for a lot of different clues and indicators that maybe the general public’s not aware of.”

CSP also said the heat will affect you faster when consuming alcohol than you might normally, so take the high temperature into consideration when monitoring your alcohol levels. Also, drink water to stay hydrated in between drinks.

Bottom line, Colorado State Patrol just wants to make sure we’re all sober, distraction-free, and buckled up every time we get behind the wheel. So the good time doesn’t turn into dangerous, risk-taking behaviors.

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.

For yearly impaired-driving crash and fatality data in Colorado, visit https://www.codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety/crash-data-management/fatal-crash-data. Information about DUI laws in Colorado can be found at NoDUIColorado.org

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