Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Statewide Drunk Driving Crackdown Continues through April 8
Issued: March 22, 2013
March Madness is in full swing and motorists need to be sure to designate a sober driver if they don't want to miss rooting for their favorite team.
Law enforcement agencies in 26 counties will continue stepped up drunk driving enforcement through April 8. The enforcement initiative began March 13 and is being paid for with federal traffic safety funds administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). 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. 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.
"Michigan law enforcement officers are specially trained to identify and arrest drunk drivers," said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. "A motorist's best defense is to designate a sober driver."
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.
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.