LANSING. The Michigan State Police (MSP) confirmed today that preliminary reports indicate four people lost their lives in four separate traffic crashes during the 2012 Lifesaver holiday weekend. In comparison, eight people died in eight separate traffic crashes during the 2011 Lifesaver holiday weekend.
The 2012 Lifesaver holiday weekend ran from 6 p.m. on Friday, December 21, 2012, through midnight on Sunday, December 23, 2012.
Alcohol was a known factor in three of the four fatal crashes, and three of the four victims were not using seatbelt restraints.
“These numbers are preliminary and only reflect those fatalities reported to the Michigan State Police as of 11 a.m. today,” stated Capt. Kari Kusmierz, commander of the MSP Training Division. “Even though these preliminary numbers show a decrease in fatalities from this same holiday period last year, the Michigan State Police continues to urge motorists not drink and drive, to always use proper restraints and to drive safely.”
Designating a sober driver should top motorists’ lists of resolutions this New Year’s Eve because more than 100 law enforcement agencies are participating in a drunk driving crackdown that runs through Jan. 1.
Law enforcement officers in 22 counties will work extra enforcement targeting impaired drivers during a New Year’s holiday drunk driving crackdown. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is coordinating the effort which is supported by federal traffic safety funds. Agencies in the following counties are participating in the drunk driving patrols: Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne.
“The best way to start out the new year is by celebrating responsibly and designating a sober driver, taking a cab or spending the night,” said OHSP Director Michael L. Prince. “Michigan law enforcement officers are serious about drunk driving enforcement. You will be stopped and you will go to jail. No exceptions or excuses.”
During last year’s New Year’s holiday period in Michigan, 14 people were killed in traffic crashes and five of those crashes involved alcohol.
OHSP offers these tips for a safe New Year’s celebration:
- Designate a sober driver before going out and give that person the keys.
- If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi, ride the bus or call a sober friend to get you home safely.
- If a friend is about to drive impaired, take his/her keys and make other arrangements to get him/her home safely.