KUSA - With 148 RTD bus and light-rail routes, along with more than 1,200 taxis permitted to operate in Denver at one time and 106 law-enforcement agencies statewide cracking down on drunk drivers, there is no excuse for drunk driving on St. Patrick's Day weekend.
To reduce the number of DUIs in Colorado during the March 15 to 18 St. Patrick's Day enforcement period, the Colorado Department of Transportation is partnering with the Colorado State Patrol, local law enforcement agencies and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to educate citizens on impaired driving and emphasize designating a sober driver or taking an alternate mode of transportation to keep the roads safe over the weekend.
"To put things in perspective, the average RTD bus or light rail ticket is $3.75 and typical cab fare within the Denver metro area is about $22.25. Compare that to the average cost of a DUI, which is over $10,000," Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, said. "This St. Patrick's Day weekend, we urge you to protect yourself and others by staying off the road and making safe travel decisions."
Beyond law enforcement efforts, Heat Is On education activities will take place in Lower Downtown this weekend and includes the distribution of $10 cab vouchers courtesy of MillerCoors for those who may have had too much drink. And to reward designated drivers and encourage revelers to switch to a non-alcoholic beverage, CDOT has partnered with Denver-based DazBog Coffee to distribute gift cards. Additionally, CDOT developed an infographic poster which tells the story of St. Patrick's Day and the Heat Is On enforcement period.
"Last year during the same enforcement period, there were 424 arrests and four fatalities statewide," Col. Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said. "This year, law enforcement will continue to be out on the roads to protect lives. Be forewarned, you will get caught if you make the dangerous decision to push your luck and drink and drive."
"Every day in America, another 27 people die and about 863 people are injured as a result of drunk driving crashes," Fran Lanzer, Manager of Field Development at MADD Colorado, said. "Far too often, St. Patrick's Day celebrations end in tragedy because of drunk driving."
The Heat Is On runs the entire year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large, public events. More details about the DUI enforcement plans and arrest results can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.
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