This Holiday Season Give the Gift of a Sober Lift; 22 percent of party attendees may drive after drinking

Contact: Melody Kindraka, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, kindrakam@michigan.gov, 517-241-1522
Agency: State Police

December 16, 2015

The perfect gift for that hard to shop for person is the ideal price and just a click away with a new Designated Driver Gift Card.  The ultimate must-have this holiday season, the gift of a safe lift is easy to print from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) website, Michigan.gov/OHSP.

In a recent statewide survey, 70 percent of respondents said they are more likely to use a designated driver after drinking at holiday parties when someone offers ahead of time.  With nearly half of respondents planning to attend parties where alcohol is served this Christmas and New Year’s, the generosity of the Designated Driver Gift Card is sure to brighten everyone’s holiday.

“Giving the Designated Driver Gift Card is free but the value is priceless when you consider the potential number of lives saved,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director.  “Law enforcement officers across the state will spend the holiday season on the lookout for drunk drivers to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the festivities safely.”

From Dec. 16, 2015-Jan. 1, 2016, officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will step up drunk driving enforcement across the state as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

Other findings from the statewide survey include:

  • Nearly a third of respondents said they will be attending more parties and gatherings in December than they normally attend.
  • About 10 percent said they will drink more than usual during holiday gatherings; while 7.7 percent of men say they will be drinking more than usual 14 percent of women will be drinking more than usual.

There were 27 traffic fatalities during the 2014 Christmas and 2014/2015 New Year’s holidays.  Five of the fatal crashes involved alcohol and nine of those killed were not wearing a seat belt. 

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.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the OHSP.  Grant-funded impaired driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.