No DUI Larimer stresses safety ahead of Super Bowl


Collegian | Lucy Morantz

The Lyft order screen inside the Lyft ride sharing app Feb. 7. Lyft, along with other ride-share apps, provides a means to get home from parties or bars instead of driving under the influence.

Abigail Flores

Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, so does the increasing potential for community members to drive under the influence, risking their lives and the safety of others.

No DUI Larimer is a campaign and coalition housed under the nonprofit Partners and was “born out of the need to address the problem of impaired driving in our community,” according to its website


The coalition recently released information about increased drunk driving connected to the Super Bowl and resources available in Northern Colorado to keep people from driving under the influence.

“We’ve chosen to focus on changing local conditions to promote responsible and safe driving.” –Heather Vesgaard, Partners executive director

The No DUI Larimer campaign “is a joint effort between law enforcement, government agencies, alcohol and cannabis retailers, local nonprofits and community members,” according to a press release. The group focuses on prevention efforts by providing educational messages and tools to “groups and individuals who tend to risk driving regularly with elevated (blood alcohol content).” 

Heather Vesgaard, the Partners executive director, said one area of impaired driving prevention No DUI Larimer focuses on is educating people on the individual roles they play in DUI situations. No DUI Larimer has a campaign called “Make the Call,” encouraging people to “make the call” to get a ride home, to be a designated driver or to call law enforcement if needed, Vesgaard said.

Vesgaard said No DUI Larimer also works with local policymakers to explore ways to reduce factors that may lead someone to drive under the influence.

“We’ve chosen to focus on changing local conditions to promote responsible and safe driving,” Vesgaard said.

That includes things like looking at parking restrictions in downtown areas that may make someone choose to drive their car home because they cannot afford to be towed.

In Fort Collins specifically, people heading to Old Town Sunday afternoon can utilize the city’s new Safe Choice program to avoid getting a parking ticket if they need to leave their car until Monday. The program allows residents to call the parking services with details about their car and where it is parked, which will grant them a grace period to pick up their car until noon on Monday.

Many ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft offer discount codes for trips after the Super Bowl, so check to see if any coupons are available in the area. While much of Fort Collins transportation does not run on Sundays, residents can book rides through zTrip as another option.

Although Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the only time people will be tempted to drive under the influence, according to No DUI Larimer, “occurrences of drunk driving are 22% higher” on Super Bowl Sunday compared to “any other typical Sunday.” The issue is so prevalent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has its own campaign warning people not to drink and drive after the Super Bowl. 


Data from the Colorado Department of Transportation says 37% of the 691 traffic-related deaths in Colorado in 2021 involved impaired drivers. 

“Since 2019, there has been a 44% increase in the number of fatalities involving an impaired driver,” according to CDOT.

Along with safety risks, steep legal repercussions can come from driving under the influence. No DUI Colorado has a detailed video on what happens if someone receives a DUI in the state. People who are charged with DUIs may need to appear in court, pay fines and legal fees, be placed on probation or serve jail time, complete community service and go through alcohol education courses, and they could have their driver’s license suspended.

According to CDOT, Colorado saw an 88% conviction rate for DUI charges in 2019, and prosecutors “filed 26,165 cases with at least one DUI charge” that same year. Larimer County had the third-highest number of DUI case filings in the state in 2019 at 2,344.

Vesgaard said the data No DUI Larimer has shows the 18-24 age group is at the highest risk for driving impaired incidents. That’s why No DUI Larimer has begun to work with programs like Colorado State University’s RamRide to target young adults and educate them on available alternatives to impaired driving.

In Colorado, drivers with a BAC of at least 0.08 can be charged with a DUI, and drivers with a BAC of at least 0.05 may receive a DWAI charge, which stands for driving while ability impaired. 

Additionally, CDOT says, “Even if your BAC is less than 0.05%, you can still be arrested for a DUI if an officer notices signs of impairment.” Vesgaard added that people can also receive DUIs for driving under the influence of cannabis, which not many people may know about.

The goal of No DUI Larimer is to provide individuals with many options and make more people aware of how to “keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” Vesgaard said.

While it can be easy to say one thing and do another, especially when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Vesgaard said that when people know more about their options, they make alternative decisions just as easily.

Reach Serena Bettis at or on Twitter @serenaroseb.