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Stepped-up Anti-DUI Enforcement Under Way in Boulder County As New Year’s Eve Nears

December 29, 2018
A Longmont police officer checks a driver for sobriety at a DUI checkpoint on westbound Ken Pratt Boulevard between Bowen and Sherman streets.

Colorado law enforcement agencies and the Colorado Department of Transportation are once again on the lookout for alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers in the days leading up to and following New Year’s Eve.

“Don’t Drop the Ball,” CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol advised in a news release advising people of the increased DUI patrols that began Friday and are to continue through Wednesday.

“So far in 2018, there have been 592 traffic fatalities on Colorado roads, with 207 of them being impairment-related,” said Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety.

“Sober rides are the easiest way to save lives and ensure New Year’s Eve celebrations are memorable for the right reasons,” Lingk said in a statement.

The heightened anti-DUI enforcement includes saturation patrols and additional officers assigned by the Colorado State Patrol and many local law enforcement agencies.

Last year, 119 state and local agencies arrested 357 impaired drivers during a five-day period between Dec. 29, 2017, and Jan. 2, 2018. This year, more than 100 law enforcement agencies are participating, officials said.

Last New Year’s Eve crackdown’s 357 arrests included three by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, eight by the Longmont Police Department, one by the Erie Police Department, one by the Dacono Police Department, one by the Firestone Police Department , one by the Frederick Police Department and five by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

Participating agencies in this year’s 2018-2019 coordinated crackdown during the days before, on and after New Year’s Eve include Boulder and Weld counties’ sheriffs’ offices and the Longmont, Erie, Dacono, Frederick and Platteville police departments.

Officials have said during past years’ enforcement campaigns there is no need to risk driving under the influence — and to face possible fines, jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions if arrested and convicted of a DUI — when there are other options available.

One is to have a designated non-drinking driver. Another is the free New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s morning service on Regional Transportation District buses and light rail coaches that will be operating on Monday night and Tuesday morning schedules.

State Patrol chief Matthew Packard said in this year’s news release: “If everyone makes smart decisions this New Year’s and plans ahead, Colorado’s roads will be safer.”

Officials also offered tips to people hosting New Year’s Eve parties or other gatherings:

• Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available.

• Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the end of the party.

• Use smaller serving cups to keep alcoholic beverages to the appropriate size.

• Plan activities and games that do not include alcohol.

• Don’t be afraid to take away someone’s keys if they’ve had too much to drink or if they’ve ingested any impairing substances such as prescription drugs, sleep medication or marijuana.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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