Area law enforcement officers are gearing up for the long holiday weekend---one that typically leads a lot of drinking and driving arrests. That’s why Colorado Springs Police, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Fountain Police and the Colorado State patrol teamed up to conduct a DUI checkpoint Friday night.
But even after the initial sting, officers will do saturation patrols the rest of the weekend. So they want to warn drivers, “Don’t drink and drive, or you will get caught”
DUI checkpoints are just one of they ways police work to keep the roads safe on holiday weekends. "During this time of year---the holiday season, it starts with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day---we tend to increase our enforcement efforts as it relates to DUI violations," says Sgt. L.C. Morgan with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Too many times, the officers see holiday fun end in tragedy. "For most people, they are having fun, they are celebrating, meeting with friends and having a good time. But generally what tends to happen---they don’t arrange for safe ride options," says Morgan.
Last year, 213 people died in drunk driving crashes across the state. Of those, 8 happened over the July Fourth weekend alone. "Anytime you introduce alcohol into your system, it diminishes your capacity to drive a vehicle effectively," says Morgan.
This summer, law enforcement agencies have planned more than 100 checkpoints throughout Colorado. The state’s new DUI law will also be a factor. Experts estimate that a 180-pound person would reach the new limit of .08 after 6 drinks in three hours. "It basically lowers the limit at which you'd be considered driving under the influence of alcohol," says Morgan.
Friday’s DUI checkpoint will be the first one local law enforcement have conducted since the new law went into effect on July 1st. And they say checkpoints are an effective tool. The last checkpoint done in El Paso County on June 12 resulted in 43 DUI arrests in just 5 hours.