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Drunk driving crackdown kicks off in West Michigan

Thirteen local counties step up enforcement for July 4th holiday

Summertime in Michigan means trips to the beach, barbeques and ball games, but it also means extra police officers on the road during the Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown.

Law enforcement agencies in 35 counties across the state will work stepped up drunk driving patrols July 1-10, which will include the heavily traveled July 4th weekend.

The effort is paid for with federal funds earmarked for traffic safety enforcement and administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

Grant-funded counties in West Michigan are Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Van Buren.

“While the focus of this effort is drivers under the influence of alcohol, officers will be arresting any impaired driver and removing not only drunk drivers from the roadway, but also those under the influence of drugs,” OHSP director Michael L. Prince said.

Although Michigan has experienced a decrease in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities and arrests, it has noted an increase in drug-involvement in traffic crashes and injuries. In 2009, drugs accounted for an additional 83 injuries and 89 crashes compared to 2008. In 2010, drug-involved fatalities increased by 29 percent with 153 motorists killed in crashes involving drugs. Some of that increase can be attributed to expanded testing requests.

In 2010, 357 people died in alcohol and/or drug-related crashes including two during the July 4th holiday period.

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