Last weekend, 43 law enforcement agencies and troop offices from across Colorado participated in an enforcement event to kickoff MADD Colorado’s 2020 Tie One On For Safety campaign. This coordinated effort sought to raise awareness ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday—one of the deadliest times on our roads. Heightened DUI enforcement for Thanksgiving will continue through November 30. 

During the November 20-22 enforcement effort, 75 drunk and drugged drivers were arrested. The Colorado Springs Police Department made the most arrests of any agency or troop office during this time, arresting 13 impaired drivers. The full list of participating agencies and troop offices is below.

“We’re grateful for the efforts our law enforcement partners give every day to ensure our roadways are safe from drunk and drugged drivers,” said Fran Lanzer, MADD Colorado Executive Director. “Whether you’re traveling to holiday festivities or hosting a party, always remember your designated driver. Everyone can help keep our holiday season joyous by planning ahead when celebrations include alcohol or cannabis.”

November 20 also marked the start of Colorado’s Thanksgiving DUI enforcement period which runs through November 30. Last year, 99 law enforcement agencies arrested 430 impaired drivers during the 10-day Thanksgiving enforcement period (CDOT). “To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are asking people to limit social gatherings over the holidays,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director of CDOT. “But if people find themselves in a situation in which they are drinking, they should know it is easy to underestimate their level of impairment and plan for a sober ride home no matter how much they have consumed.”

The holidays are among the most dangerous times on our nation’s roadways, with more people traveling, an increased number of events where alcohol is served, and a surge in drunk driving. Between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Eve in 2018, there were 1,068 lives lost to drunk driving across the country, accounting for 29 percent of all traffic deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Colorado in 2018, there were 24 drunk driving fatalities from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Eve, accounting for 37 percent of all traffic fatalities (CDOT 2019).

In addition, a new study by NHTSA shows an alarming increase in the presence of alcohol and other drugs among traffic crash victims during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 17 to July 18, 64.7% of drivers tested positive for at least one active drug (including alcohol), compared to 50.8% from September 10, 2019 to March 16. Alcohol presence was found in 28.3% of drivers involved in crashes, up from 21.8% before the pandemic. Other drugs are also a concern: 32.7% of drivers tested positive for active THC, and opioid presence among drivers almost doubled from 7.5% to 13.9%.

In 1986, MADD began promoting the designated driver and its longest-running annual public awareness red ribbon campaign, Tie One On for Safety. With so many options today such as Uber, taxis, public transportation and alcohol-free friends or family members, there is no excuse to drink and drive. The annual campaign runs from mid-November to New Year’s Day to remind the public to plan ahead for a safe ride home before celebrations that involve alcohol.

To launch the 2020 campaign, MADD Colorado invited law enforcement agencies across the state to designate one car to patrol for impaired drivers in honor of victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving. These designated patrol cars displayed a MADD red ribbon magnet to show support for victims and survivors while doing their patrolling activities on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21.

On Friday, November 20, MADD Colorado also held a candlelight vigil to honor and remember those lives forever changed by impaired driving crashes and to remind the public of the tragic consequences of drunk and drugged driving. So far in 2020, 169 people have been killed in suspected drunk and drugged driving crashes on Colorado roads. In spite of COVID-19 precautions and reduced travel, suspected impairment fatalities are up 12% over last year through October (CDOT Fatal Crash Data).

The 2020 Tie One On For Safety Campaign is presented locally by the law firm of Bachus & Schanker, MADD Colorado’s Statewide Sponsor.

“As a personal injury law firm, we work every day with victims and families that have experienced tragedy because someone else made the selfish choice to drive impaired,” said Darin Schanker, founding partner of Bachus & Schanker. “Our firm is grateful for our Colorado law enforcement heroes who are saving lives by preventing these 100% preventable tragedies from happening.”

Colorado sponsors also include Credit Union of Colorado and Walmart Neighborhood Market. MADD is also grateful for the partnership of its National Tie One On for Safety presenting sponsor, Waymo.

Colorado Drivers can show their commitment to designating a non-drinking driver and support of law enforcement’s efforts to protect the roads by displaying a MADD Tie One On for Safety red ribbon or decal on their vehicles. Please contact the MADD Colorado State Office at co.state@madd.org to get your red ribbon. For digital red ribbon icons to share on Facebook, visit madd.org/toofs.

2020 Tie One On For Safety Enforcement Campaign

43 Participating Agencies and Troop Offices

Alamosa Police Department

Castle Rock Police Department

Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Office

Colorado College Public Safety

Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Boyd Lake State Park

Colorado Parks and Wildlife-Lathrop State Park

Colorado Springs Police Department

Colorado State Patrol Public Affairs

Colorado State Patrol Troop 1A/1E Golden/Gilpin

Colorado State Patrol Troop 1C Castle Rock

Colorado State Patrol Troop 1D Adams County

Colorado State Patrol Troop 2A Buena Vista

Colorado State Patrol Troop 2A Fairplay

Colorado State Patrol Troop 2A Florence

Colorado State Patrol Troop 2B/E Colorado Springs

Colorado State Patrol Troop 2D Pueblo

Colorado State Patrol Troop 4A Fruita

Colorado State Patrol Troop 4C Frisco

Colorado State Patrol Troop 5A Durango

Colorado State Patrol Troop 5B Alamosa

Commerce City Police Department

Dacono Police Department

Denver Police Department

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office

Estes Park Police Department

Florence Police Department

Fort Lupton Police Department

Fountain Police Department

Frederick Police Department

Logan County Sheriff’s Office

Loveland Police Department

Monument Police Department

Mt. Crested Butte Police Department

Oak Creek Police Department

Park County Sheriff’s Office

Pueblo Police Department

Springfield Police Department

Timnath Police Department

Vail Police Department

Wiggins Police Department

Windsor Police Department

Yuma County Sheriff’s Office