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Traffic safety campaign encourages sober driving as Labor Day holiday nears

Enforcement campaign begins August 12

The end of summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday and is a time for friends and families to enjoy pool parties, backyard barbecues and late-summer road trips. Sadly, the Labor Day holiday weekend is also one of the deadliest times of the year in terms of impaired-driving fatalities.

That is why through the remainder of August and the 2022 Labor Day holiday weekend, police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police are encouraging motorists to celebrate safely and make smart driving decisions. During a three-week period, August 12 through September 5, there will be increased enforcement and additional messaging about the dangers of driving impaired.

In 2021, nearly 45 percent of fatalities on Michigan roadways involved alcohol and/or drugs, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Over the Labor Day holiday weekend periods from 2017 to 2021, there were 39 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in Michigan. In those crashes, one-third of the drivers killed were alcohol-impaired.

“The aim of the enforcement campaign is to drastically reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired driving,” said Katie Bower, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “This should be a time for friends and family to enjoy the final days of summer. Impaired driving puts everyone at risk and is always unacceptable.”

Officers will be on the lookout for motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol throughout the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement period. In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired.

Also, in Michigan during 2021:

  • There were 9,557 alcohol-involved crashes (with 357 alcohol-involved fatalities) and 2,999 drug-involved crashes (with 275 drug-involved fatalities).
  • One person was killed in an alcohol-involved crash every 24 hours and 32 minutes.
  • In all traffic crashes occurring over the Labor Day holiday period, 11 people died.

To increase awareness and encourage safe and sober driving, the OHSP is funding a statewide media campaign about the dangers of impaired driving. The OHSP has also produced a new commercial, titled “Impaired and You Know It.”

The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.