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Celebrate the New Year with a sober driver

Drunk driving crackdown continues this weekend

Why ruin a good time with a drunk driving arrest? Save time, money and possibly a life by designating a sober driver this New Year’s Eve, otherwise you could find yourself starting 2010 in jail.

More than 500 officers in 30 Michigan counties will work nearly 3,000 hours of stepped up drunk driving enforcement during the final week of the Drunk Driving Over the Limit Under Arrest enforcement campaign through January 3.

The holiday effort began December 23 and is being paid for with federal traffic safety funds. During last year’s four-day holiday period, 15 people were killed in traffic crashes in Michigan, more than any other holiday of the year. One of those fatalities involved alcohol.

“Officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve through the weekend. This message is a warning to party-goers: if you drive drunk, you will be arrested,” said Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince. “Avoid the hassle of drunk driving arrest by designating a sober driver, taking a cab or spending the night.”

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent said that they have had an extra officer out on the road since the campaign began December 23. He was happy to say that there haven’t been many drunk drivers. “That’s a good thing. Our goal is education and less offenders,” he explained.

Those who do not heed the warnings and drive drunk could face serious consequences, including up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, 180 days license suspension, and six points on their driver’s license. In addition, they will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs. Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.
In spite of progress made in reducing drunk driving in Michigan, nearly 37 percent of traffic fatalities involve alcohol and/or drugs.

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