Colorado’s Most Dangerous Holiday Due to Impaired Drivers Just Might Surprise You

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(COLO) – Some holidays, like New Year’s Eve, may seem synonymous with partying and consuming impairing substances. Yet, according to crash investigation statistics collected by Colorado State Patrol over a three-year period (2019 – 2021) the most dangerous holiday on our roads for injury and fatal car crashes caused by intoxicated drivers was Labor Day.

Whether heading out for a camping trip, neighborhood barbeque or downtown patio bar, Colorado drivers need to plan for a sober ride. Each year as the warm weather starts to stabilize around May, Colorado troopers begin to see impaired driving incidents rise. The number of driving under the influence arrests holds fairly steady through early autumn. In 2021, the Colorado State Patrol arrested 4,665 impaired drivers with over 35% of those occurring over the four months of May through August 2021.

 “While alcohol continues to be the largest drug type impairing motorists on our roadways, as our agency refines our data collection troopers are seeing more types of drug combinations like a person using alcohol and marijuana on the rise,” stated Chief Matthew C. Packard, Colorado State Patrol. “If you are planning a party, be a good host and ensure no one drives away impaired. If you are going out, plan for a sober ride.”

Looking at impaired driving caused fatal and injury crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol by major holiday, the holiday ranked in order from most dangerous to least were:

  1. Labor Day
  2. Memorial Day
  3. Fourth of July
  4. Christmas Day
  5. New Year’s Day
  6. Thanksgiving Day

Colorado State Troopers are continuing to take a low-tolerance approach to lane violations while running a yearlong campaign called “Stay in Your Lane.”  This campaign is designed to remind people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment. It also aims to bring attention to three of the most common and avoidable behaviors that contribute to lane violations - driving aggressively, driving distracted or driving while impaired.


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.