‘The Heat Is On!’ for the weekend | SummitDaily.com

‘The Heat Is On!’ for the weekend

Summit Daily file photo/Reid Williams Breckenridge police officers conduct roadside tests with an intoxicated driver in this August 2002 file photo. Law enforcement patrols will be out in force for the holiday weekend.

SUMMIT COUNTY – State and local law enforcement agencies will be targeting impaired drivers this Labor Day weekend, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).Traffic safety officials hope drivers will heed the warnings and choose to designate drivers, use alternative transportation and watch out for friends and family who have been drinking and should not drive, according to the agency.Law enforcement officers will be vigilant in checking for drunken drivers but Summit County will not see a DUI checkpoint, according to Sheriff John Minor. However, the Sheriff’s Office will add one additional sergeant to patrol on Saturday.

“We don’t do DUI checkpoints on busy weekends because we would create a traffic jam,” Minor said. “But we will be aggressively enforcing DUI’s over the weekend.”The most recent DUI checkpoint occurred in August, when only two to three arrests were made, Minor said. The sheriff noted that DUI’s are down in Summit County.”People are getting the big picture,” he said. “Our officers are seeing more and more designated drivers.”

According to CDOT, Colorado joins all 50 states in a nationwide crackdown on impaired drivers that started Aug. 27 and continues through Sept. 12. Part of the national DUI crackdown includes the Labor Day weekend enforcement period that began Friday at 6 p.m. and ends Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 3 a.m.”For the first time in 25 years, records show there were no alcohol-related traffic deaths during Labor Day weekend last year,” said Tom Norton, CDOT executive director. In 2002, 102 people died on the nation’s highways due to alcohol-related accidents. Last year, the figure was reduced by 18 percent.

In addition to law enforcement presence, five military bases in Colorado and the Southern Ute Tribal Police Department are participating in the national DUI crackdown.Since “The Heat Is On!” began in July 1996, national agencies arrested 31,430 people for driving drunk during holiday weekends and other special DUI enforcement periods.Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at kmarquis@summitdaily.com.

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