Routt County Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start to summer, means increased traffic patrols for drunken drivers.
The Steamboat Springs Police Department will increase DUI enforcement today through midnight Monday.
"We know everyone wants to enjoy the long holiday weekend. If alcohol is included in your party plans, designate a sober driver to see that friends and family members get home safely," Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
As part of a campaign called "The Heat Is On," local police will join 44 other departments and the Colorado State Patrol in a statewide effort to reduce alcohol-related fatalities. Law enforcement agencies participating in "The Heat Is On" last year during the Memorial Day weekend made 399 DUI arrests.
Out of five traffic fatalities during last year's holiday weekend, three involved alcohol.
Alcohol-related traffic deaths during the summer months have been cut in half since law enforcement agencies started "The Heat Is On" DUI campaign in 1996, according to Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Tom Norton.
"Considering the tremendous growth Colorado has experienced, it's likely that alcohol-related traffic deaths would have increased if this statewide, coordinated campaign had not been in place," Norton said.
Throughout the summer, law enforcement agencies will crack down on drunken drivers over the Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day weekends. Officers will also target special events, such as graduations, and locations where drinking and driving increases.
To reach Michelle Bales call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org