NewsCovering Colorado


Holiday driving enforcement kicks off with Blackout Wednesday

Posted at 2:17 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-24 08:54:44-05

COLORADO — In an effort to curb deaths and accidents on roads in El Paso County, law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels are teaming up to crack down on distracted or impaired driving from Wednesday through Saturday.

The Blackout Wednesday operation is a two-phase operation, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The first focus of the operation is to crack down on distracted drivers during the afternoon. Law enforcement will then focus their attention on impaired drivers in the evening.

“Traditionally, folks leave work or school early in the afternoon and rush home, to the grocery store, or even the airport,” said Traffic Unit Sergeant Jason Haag with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. “The night before Thanksgiving, people tend to go to the bars with friends and family. We implore you to have a designated sober driver or use a ride service. There is nothing worth risking your life or the lives of others. Plan and have a safe, sober way to get home.”

The following agencies are participating in the Blackout Wednesday operation in El Paso County:

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Colorado State Patrol
  • Colorado Springs Police Department
  • Fountain Police Department
  • Monument Police Department
  • Palmer Lake Police Department
  • Calhan Police Department
  • Manitou Springs Police Department


The consequences of a DUI can not only be fatal, but costly as well. It is estimated that first-time DUI offenders average a total of $13,530 in fees associated with the DUI, and a person can spend a minimum of 170 hours dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Need a ride?

In light of Black Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Transportation is offering anyone heading out Wednsday night a $10 Uber code for those looking to get a ride home while supplies last. All you have to do is enter the code "SAFETHANKS" into your Uber app through November 26th.


Last year marked the deadliest year on Colorado roads in twenty years. The last time more than 700 Coloradans died on roadways was 2002, according to data from CDOT. In 2021, nearly one in three of the 691 traffic fatalities could be attributed to impaired drivers.

According to a 2023 report, from the Colorado Divison of Criminal Justice, in 2020, the highest number of DUI case filings by county were El Paso (3,262), Adams (2,053), Jefferson (1,846), Larimer (1,787), and Arapahoe counties (1,382), while urban counties did show the most numbers of DUIs in 2020 case filing rates were higher in rural counties.

Rate of DUI case filings per 100,000 residents

Colorado Division of Criminal Justice looking at the same report, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice found that the rate of DUI case filings per 100,000 residents was highest in Kiowa County, with a rate of 3,632 case filings per 100,000 residents. When looking at this figure, El Paso County has a case filing rate of 564 per 100,000 residents.


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