Colorado experts cautiously optimistic about DUI arrests being down over July 4th

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 6:10 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2023 at 5:37 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After 2022 was the deadliest year on record on Colorado roads, safety experts hope new DUI stats show promise that Colorado’s traffic safety is moving in the right direction.

Over the July 4th heightened DUI enforcement period in 2023, there were far fewer arrests than during the same holiday enforcement period in 2022.

“It is a little encouraging,” said Sam Cole with CDOT safety communications. “We are seeing about 10% fewer fatalities on a roads than this time last year, so we are trending in the right direction. We don’t want to get too hopeful though.”

2023 July 4th DUI arrest numbers:

  • 114 arrests state wide
  • 17 arrests from El Paso County
  • 5 day heightened enforcement period
  • 70 agencies participated

2022 July 4th DUI arrest numbers:

  • 208 arrests state wide
  • 29 arrests from El Paso County
  • 6 day heightened enforcement period
  • 80 agencies participated

2022′s numbers could be higher, in part, because of two factors outside of drivers’ control. First, 2022 counted DUI arrests over a six-day holiday period, whereas 2023′s numbers were counted over a five-day holiday period. Also, 10 fewer law enforcement agencies contributed to the state total in 2023, compared to 2022.

Still, experts hope the numbers are indicative of drivers making smarter decisions to not get behind the wheel while impaired.

“To see a really huge decline in the number of people that were arrested for impaired driving is encouraging,” Cole said. “It could be a fluke, it could be just a one-off, but I’m hoping that it’s a sign of things to come for the rest of the summer.”

Cole says 1 in 3 traffic deaths on Colorado roads involve an impaired driver.