To help Coloradans transition safely into the new year, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will join forces once again to complete The Heat Is On New Year’s Eve DUI enforcement Dec. 29-Jan. 2.
Eighty-nine law enforcement agencies will increase DUI patrols to support the enforcement period. CDOT and Lyft will also continue their joint effort in offering free or discounted rides over the holidays with the “Gift of Lyft” campaign.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise, state officials urge people to refrain from gathering with people outside of their immediate household. People are also reminded to always wear a mask in public and stay six feet apart from others.
Earlier in December 329 impaired drivers were arrested during the Holiday DUI enforcement period. A total of 178 traffic fatalities involving an impaired driver have occurred so far in 2020, according to the latest data from CDOT. That number represents 32% of all roadway fatalities this year in Colorado. Alcohol use has increased nationally during COVID-19, with the largest increases in excessive drinking observed in western states, including Colorado.
“Our DUI enforcement efforts increase during the holidays, as impaired driving is no joking matter," said Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “If you choose to drive impaired you are not only putting your own life and lives of your passenger at risk, but you are also jeopardizing the safety of every other person on the road. Stop yourself and think, is this really worth a life?”
During The Heat Is On New Year’s Eve DUI enforcement period last year, 101 participating law enforcement agencies arrested 360 impaired drivers. Enforcement provides additional safety measures across the state dedicated to impaired driving prevention during annual events and holidays. Local agency plans and arrest data can be found at codot.gov/safety/traffic-safety-reporting-portal.
CDOT and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) are helping Coloradans plan sober rides by providing discount Lyft ride codes valued at $10 each as part of the “Gift of Lyft” promotion. Every Thursday in December, 200 ride credits are available on a rotating basis in Denver, Colorado Springs and Thornton — areas where DUI fatalities were the highest in 2019.
The discount codes are available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who sign the Gift of Lyft Pledge at GiftofLyft.com. The last set of free rides will launch on Thursday, Dec. 31, in Colorado Springs ahead of New Year’s Eve. Those who have claimed one of the Gift of Lyft ride codes have until Jan. 4, 2021 to redeem their ride credit.
The Gift of Lyft is part of a Safe Road Use grant CDOT received from the GHSA and Lyft to help reduce impaired driving across the state. For additional information about the Gift of Lyft, visit GiftofLyft.com.
A few of the COVID-19 safety guidelines for ride-hailing services include wearing a face mask, leaving the front seat empty, and staying home if you’re sick. Review the full list of Lyft’s latest COVID-19 precautions at lyft.com/safety/coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has safety information geared toward ride-hailing service drivers at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/rideshare-drivers-for-hire.html.
ABOUT THE HEAT IS ON
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. Find more information about the campaign at HeatIsOnColorado.com.