DUI enforcement increased for holiday weekend


— The Steamboat Springs Police Department will conduct increased patrols downtown through Memorial Day weekend, seeking to stop driving under the influence of alcohol as part of a statewide campaign.

The Colorado Department of Transportation identified 28 "Heat Hot Spots" across the state, including Lincoln Avenue between Third and 13th street, for extra DUI enforcement.

CDOT's participating agencies were asked to identify their problem areas, mostly those with high incidences of DUI accidents and arrests, spokesman Jim Licko said. Other hot spots include areas with heavy traffic or high concentrations of bars and restaurants.

This is the first time CDOT has made a statewide effort to identify such hot spots - a contrast from former "Heat Is On" campaigns that stressed increased enforcement in general during holiday periods, spokeswoman Haley McKean said.

"The idea is not only to let people know they're out and hopefully stop them from getting in their cars, and to make the streets safer," Licko said.

Steamboat Springs police will conduct extra patrols in the downtown area throughout the weekend, funded by a Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant. LEAF grants are paid for by fees assessed by the state for every DUI conviction.

Seven people were arrested in Routt County on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol during Memorial Day weekend last year. During the same enforcement period, there were eight statewide fatalities in alcohol-related crashes, according to CDOT.

Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs was the only identified "Heat Hot Spot" in Northwest Colorado.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com


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