Law enforcement cracking down on drunk drivers through April 8
Motorists should count on a sober driver, not luck, to get home safely
Luck may belong to the Irish and might even help a college hoops team make it through the playoffs, but it won’t help Michigan motorists who don’t designate a sober driver over the next couple of weeks.
Law enforcement agencies in 26 counties are conducting more than 13,200 hours of extra patrols to arrest drunk drivers today through April 8. This time period includes the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's and women’s basketball tournaments, high school and college spring break periods and St. Patrick’s Day. A five-year review of crash data indicates both alcohol use and lack of seat belts play a significant role in fatal and serious injury crashes in March and early April.
Law enforcement officers from 155 agencies in Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are participating in the crackdown. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is coordinating the effort which is supported by federal traffic safety funds.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re out rooting for your favorite team at the local sports bar or celebrating the luck of the Irish at the corner pub, if alcohol is part of the festivities make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Extra officers will be out on patrol, and if you’re caught driving drunk you will be arrested.”
In 2012, 2,488 people were arrested for drunk driving during the NCAA tournament time period. Of those, 789 were arrested under the state’s high blood-alcohol content (BAC) law with BAC’s of .17 or higher. More than 400 of those arrests were made by grant-funded law enforcement agencies during last year’s drunk driving crackdown.
In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher.
Impaired Driving in Michigan: A Sobering Story
- In 2011, 319 people died in Michigan as a result of alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes, a 10.6 percent decrease from 2010. Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center (CJIC)
- A five-year review of crash data indicates alcohol use and failure to buckle up play a significant role in fatal and serious injury crashes during March and early April. March includes St. Patrick’s Day, many school spring break periods and college basketball tournament games. Michigan Traffic Crash Facts
- During the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament time period (March 12-April 2), law enforcement officers arrested 2,488 motorists for drunk driving; 789 of those people were charged under the state’s high blood-alcohol content law. CJIC
- Michigan law enforcement agencies arrested 37,540 motorists for drunk and impaired driving in 2011. That’s nearly 103 arrests per day. CJIC
- Law enforcement agencies in 26 counties are participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative, March 13-April 8, coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and paid for with federal traffic safety funds.
- Crashes involving drinking tend to be more serious than non-drinking crashes. The percentage of fatalities is eight times higher than in all crashes, and the number of crashes at the most serious injury level is almost four times higher. CJIC
- In 2011, 9,878 people were killed nationally in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, accounting for 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Impaired driving is one of the most often committed crimes. In 2010, more than 1.4 million people nationwide were arrested for driving under the influence. Crime in the United States, 2010, U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Every 51 minutes someone in the United States dies in an impaired driving-related crash. NHTSA