Troopers On High Alert Memorial Day Weekend for Impaired Drivers as Q1 Trends Signal Concern

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(COLO) – Driving under the influence of impairing substances is a year-round issue for Colorado, where one in every three fatal crashes involves an impaired driver. Colorado State troopers consistently look for driving behaviors that signal potential impairment and monitor trends in fatal crash data. As we enter a holiday weekend, troopers are sounding the alarm that Colorado is trending in the wrong direction.

During the first quarter of 2024 (January - April), Colorado State Patrol troopers investigated 67 fatal crashes, with 36% of these events involving an impaired driver. At the end of the first quarter of 2023, only 25% of the fatal crashes involved an impaired driver.

As anticipated, the number of deaths that occurred due to impaired driving in the first quarter is also trending upward in 2024. In 2023, 22.6% of all the first-quarter fatalities occurred in a crash involving an impaired driver, but in 2024, 36% of all crash fatalities involved an impaired driver.  

“For most of us, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, but for traffic safety professionals, it marks day 1 out of the 100 consecutive deadliest days on our roadways,” stated Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “The miles we travel in our vehicles often increase during these 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and our riskier driving behaviors are more prevalent.”

According to Colorado State Patrol crash data, crashes of all types (property, injury, and fatality) place impairment as the sixth most common cause. But when narrowing to just fatal crashes, impairment skyrockets to the number one cause. Looking at Colorado State Patrol investigated crashes, an impaired driver is four times (4x) more likely to be in a fatal crash rather than a property damage or injury crash.

“Risk-taking is comparable to gambling. Can you afford to live with the consequences of killing someone while you drive home from that party? Do you want to do more with your life or are you comfortable rolling the dice?” expressed Chief Packard. “These are serious and dark questions, but they are fair ones to ask before you get behind the wheel intoxicated. Find a sober ride; there are plenty of options.”

drive safe

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations, impaired driving and speeding while launching a yearlong
campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to reflect on everything they love and value and plan a sober ride when planning to celebrate.


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.