The holidays are a time to get together with friends and family, but those who celebrate too much should know law enforcement agencies are going to step up patrols.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that agencies involved in the "Officer Party Weekend," a driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement operation, made 368 DUI arrests during a 33-hour enforcement period. The period started at 6 p.m. Friday and ran to 3 a.m. Sunday one of the most dangerous weekends for drunk drivers due to work-related weekend Christmas parties.
"The Heat Is On" campaign started "Office Party Weekend" in 1996. In 1996, agencies made 180 DUI arrests during the event. In 1997 and 1998 there were 277 and 218 DUI arrests, respectively, made during "Office Party Weekend."
The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 56 police and sheriff's departments across Colorado increased DUI patrols during the weekend enforcement period this year. The CSP made 97 DUI arrests and nearly one third of those arrested were repeat offenders.
The average blood alcohol content (BAC) of those arrested was nearly .14. Studies estimate that to reach a .14 BAC, a 160-pound person would have seven or eight drinks in a three-hour period. In Colorado, a person is driving under the influence at a .10 BAC.
During the 1998 holiday season 10 people died in traffic crashes in Colorado. Three of the accidents were alcohol-related. Of the 10 people who died, five were not wearing seat belts.