The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies are increasing DUI enforcement across the state from Saturday to Nov. 30 to account for drunk driving over Thanksgiving.
Last year, 99 agencies arrested 430 impaired drivers statewide during the Thanksgiving enforcement period.
"Make plans for safe and sober driving before the festivities begin," said CSP Chief Matthew Packard. “Impaired decisions are impulsive with no regard to your future or those traveling around you."
The state’s last enforcement period was over Halloween weekend. During that period, 198 impaired drivers were arrested, including 21 by the Denver Police Department. In 2019, Halloween enforcement resulted in 250 arrests.
However, despite the decrease in number of arrests, officials said the percentages are the same.
From January to October, there were 7,837 DUI arrests in 2019 and 5,773 in 2020, but around 30% of traffic fatalities were impairment-related in both years. Officials attribute the decrease to lower traffic rates during COVID-19.
After the Thanksgiving enforcement period, two more enforcement periods will be launched, from Dec. 4 to Dec. 14 and Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 to cover holiday parties.
State transportation agencies are also encouraging Coloradans to limit Thanksgiving gatherings altogether to adhere to COVID-19 health recommendations.
“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are asking people to limit social gatherings over the holidays,” said Shoshana Lew with CDOT.
“But if people find themselves in a situation in which they are drinking, they should know it is easy to underestimate their level of impairment and plan for a sober ride home no matter how much they have consumed.”
State officials are asking residents to only celebrate Thanksgiving within their households this year.
In more than a dozen counties including Denver, social gatherings of any size are prohibited beginning Friday as part of the new Level Red COVID-19 health restrictions.