Additonal Police Patrols This Weekend

Getting geared up for the conclusion of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournaments? Remember to designate a sober driver or you may end up in jail and miss the games.

More than 160 law enforcement agencies in 26 counties will continue stepped up drunk driving enforcement through April 2. The enforcement initiative began March 13 and is being paid for with federal traffic safety funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

“This is an exciting time for college basketball fans. OHSP wants to make sure it isn’t a tragic time as well,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Be sure everyone has the opportunity to root for their team by designating a sober driver or calling a cab for a safe ride home.”

This is the first time OHSP incorporated an extended spring drunk driving crackdown into its traffic safety efforts. In the past, March drunk driving efforts have focused only on 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 throughout March and into early April.

Last year during the NCAA basketball tournaments timeframe, March 15-April 4, law enforcement officers arrested 2,215 motorists for drunk driving; 613 of those people were charged under the state’s high blood-alcohol content (BAC) law.

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 feels they are impaired. Under the state’s high BAC law, motorists face enhanced penalties if a first-time arrest is for a .17 BAC or higher.

For a list of planned enforcement dates, times and locations, visit enforcement agencies across Michigan are participating with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) to incorporate a nearly three-week spring drunk driving crackdown in its traffic safety efforts. Federal traffic safety funds will be used to support the additional enforcement.

Law enforcement agencies have planned nearly 7,500 hours of additional drunk driving patrols.

This year, extra patrols will be on the road through the Final Four weekend. In Marquette County, there will be extra patrols Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday nights.

Extra patrols will be on the road Friday and Saturday nights in Delta and Chippewa Counties.