For most of us, the new year marks a time for reflection and growth — not the beginning of a series of penalties levied because of a DUI arrest.

For most of us, the new year marks a time for reflection and growth — not the beginning of a series of penalties levied because of a DUI arrest. From Dec. 30 to Jan. 3, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will increase DUI enforcement to arrest impaired drivers during New Year’s celebrations. This year, 107 agencies statewide will participate in the crackdown.

“Nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities this year involved an impaired driver,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “It takes one person’s bad decision to change many lives forever. Plan to have a sober ride before you start celebrating.”

Last year, 103 agencies arrested 396 impaired drivers during the New Year’s enforcement period. There were seven traffic fatalities during the enforcement period. Three of the seven fatalities were caused by alcohol-related crashes.

“People often forget the financial, legal — and most importantly — the safety implications of driving impaired,” said Col. Scott Hernandez, Chief of Colorado State Patrol. “There is absolutely no need to risk driving under the influence with the many transportation options available.”

First-time DUI offenders can be punished with up to one year in jail, license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. On average, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs. Penalties increase for repeat offenders.

The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 12 specific high visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.