Impaired Driving Enforcement Begins Tomorrow
Launched in Colorado in 1996, CDOT’s The Heat Is On campaign educates drivers about high-visibility impaired driving enforcement periods throughout the year—many of which coincide with major holidays such as Labor Day. This year, CDOT is altering its approach to impaired driving public education by acknowledging that drinking tends to be a common activity, especially during a holiday weekend. The campaign’s new tagline turns the well-know phrase “Don’t Drink and Drive” on its head by educating people who choose to drink to “Drink & Don’t Drive.”
Although CDOT does not encourage drinking alcohol, this campaign recognizes that people do make that choice. The campaign targets males, ages 21-34, because they have a higher propensity for dying in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. In 2012, there were 190 alcohol-related fatalities. Of those, 36 percent were males between the ages of 18 and 34.
“First and foremost, The Heat Is On has been about preventing impaired driving,” says Amy Ford, Director of Communications at CDOT. “Our new campaign tagline allows us to maintain our focus while showing that we understand people are going to consume alcohol, and that is fine as long as they do it responsibly and don’t drive.”
From Aug. 16 through Sept. 3, the Colorado State Patrol and law enforcement agencies across the state will be increasing their presence through increased patrols, saturation patrols and checkpoints to keep Coloradans safe from impaired drivers. Last year, more than 1,400 Colorado residents were arrested for impaired driving offenses and 13 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes during the Labor Day crackdown. This enforcement period coincides with the nationwide impaired driving crackdown through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
“Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement reduces impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent,” said Darrell Lingk, Director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “Our goal is to increase awareness of the dangers of impaired driving by coupling heightened enforcement with public education campaigns.”
In conjunction with the Labor Day enforcement, The Heat Is On campaign is launching radio, bus and billboard advertising, as well as in-bar advertising such as coasters, posters and a new tool for CDOT, the Interactive Urinal Communicator (IUCs). The IUCs feature a 15-second audio message encouraging male bar patrons to not drive and instead look to other alternatives, such as public transit, 1800taxicab.com or Uber.
The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. More details about the campaign, including DUI enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.