Law enforcement cracking down on drunk drivers for St. Patrick's Day

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DENVER (KKTV) - Law enforcement across the state are getting ready to crack down on drunk and impaired drivers. The St. Patrick's Day DUI enforcement period begins Friday.

In total, 88 agencies will have extra enforcement on the roads, including DUI checkpoints. The heavier enforcement will last for 11 days through March 20.

"People will certainly start celebrating this weekend, but St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until next week, so we expect parties to go into next week, or maybe even next weekend,” said Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) spokesperson Sam Cole.

The weeks surrounding St. Patrick's Day have some of the most DUI arrests compared to other holidays throughout the year.

Compared to previous enforcement years, the holiday week falls just behind summer holidays including Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends.

“As the weather gets warmer, people start to think to go out and do their drinking, which is really a good idea, if you plan on celebrating, consider celebrating at home so you don’t have to drive anywhere,” said Cole.

In 2016 during the enforcement period, 455 arrests were made. That's down from 505 in 2015, but that number tends to fluctuate, and likely depends on whether or not the holiday falls on a weekend.

“If the holiday falls on a week day, there may be less celebrations, but if the holiday falls on a weekend, we expect to see more celebrations and therefore more impaired drivers on the road,” said Cole.

This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday. Ahead of the actual day, parades will be held this Saturday.

"There's no doubt there's going to be a lot of St. Patrick's Day celebrations coming up and what happens at those celebrations, people drink, and that is great, but we just want people to have a plan for how they're going to get home safely without having to get behind the wheel," said Cole.

Besides avoiding driving drunk or impaired altogether, CDOT recommends downloading the free R-U-Buzzed app. The app, available to download on smartphones, lets users put in information including weight, along with how many drinks the person has had during a certain amount of time. That way, it lets drivers see that even with just a couple drinks, they can still get a DUI. To learn more about the app, click here.