(COLORADO) — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is beginning its first of three holiday enforcement periods with tips to prevent impaired driving.

Enforcement begins Nov. 17 and runs through Nov. 30. The other two enforcement periods will begin Dec. 8 through Dec. 20 and Dec. 29 through Jan. 3, 2023.

CDOT said impaired driving increases over Thanksgiving due in part to cultural phenomena known as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving” involving the heavy consumption of alcohol and drugs throughout the holiday weekend.

According to CDOT, 16 traffic deaths occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday, with five of them involving suspected impaired drivers in 2021.

“Driving impaired isn’t a mistake, it’s a crime. With so many safe-ride options available, you should never make the choice of driving under the influence,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We want all drivers on our road to be safe so that every seat can be filled at the holiday table. Driving intoxicated puts your life at risk and everyone around you. So stop the excuses and plan a sober ride.”

CDOT recommends the following ways to avoid a DUI:

  • Before heading out, make a plan to get home so you won’t be tempted to later drive impaired. Plan for a rideshare, taxi, or mass transit.
  • If you live in a rural area with fewer options, designate a sober driver.
  • If you are hosting a party, have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and food available.