Extra patrols for July 4th holiday

Drunk drivers will be red, white and busted this Fourth of July because law enforcement officers from 156 agencies are putting extra officers out on the road starting tonight as part of a statewide drunk driving crackdown. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over effort runs through July 7 and is paid for with federal funds administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

Officers from local police departments, sheriff offices and Michigan State Police posts across the state will work stepped up drunk driving patrols during this popular summer holiday time period.

“Drunk driving is a serious offense with serious consequences.  The stepped-up patrols will be on the lookout for drunk drivers to ensure those drivers are off the road,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director.  “Make sure the only flashing lights you see this Fourth of July are fireworks. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you start drinking.”

During the 2012 July Fourth holiday period, four people were killed in four traffic crashes. Although none of the crashes involved alcohol, alcohol-related traffic deaths and serious injuries increase during the summer months, with July and August being the highest.  During a five-year period (2008-2012), alcohol involvement resulted in 743 deaths and incapacitating injuries during the month of July and 753 deaths and serious injuries during the month of August.  A second statewide drunk driving crackdown is slated Aug. 16-Sept. 2.

Agencies in the following 26 counties will have extra officers out cracking down on drunk drivers during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign:  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.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (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.

Overtime drunk driving enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in February 2013.