Mile High Shift

Traffic flows on the new section of Interstate 70 on May 24, 2021.

For the first time in recent history, no fatal car crashes occurred in Colorado over Labor Day weekend, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

From 2007 to 2020, there were an average of 8.5 deadly crashes in the state every Labor Day weekend, according to the department. This is the first year with no fatal crashes since the department began keeping track in 2007.

Officials with the department attribute the lack of fatal crashes to the success of increased DUI enforcement over the holiday periods.

“We’re here to remind everyone on Colorado roadways that there is never a season where it’s OK to drive impaired,” said Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Our goal is to have the safest roadways possible.”

Last year, Labor Day weekend had the highest number of impairment-related fatal crashes in Colorado out of any other holiday period, with seven fatalities, according to the department.

Labor Day weekend was also Colorado’s most deadly holiday weekend for vehicle crashes in 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016 and 2018, beating New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas during those years.

None of the fatal crash rates of the other holidays have decreased in 2021, but general traffic fatalities in Colorado are down 6% from last year, according to the department.

Hoping to continue the positive trend, the department is teaming up with the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies for another increased DUI enforcement period beginning Friday.

“So far in 2021, we’ve seen 153 impaired-driving-related fatalities,” said Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “High visibility enforcement is a means of prevention to help people make better, safer decisions, knowing that law enforcement is on the lookout.”

The “Fall Festivals DUI Enforcement Period” will last from Friday through Monday. Last year, this period saw 95 law enforcement agencies arrest 1,457 impaired drivers from Sept. 11 to Oct. 28.


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