More than 300 motorists are starting 2012 with a budget-busting bill after being arrested during a statewide drunk driving crackdown over the holidays. Of those arrested, 38 were charged under the state’s high blood alcohol content (BAC) law with having a BAC of .17 or higher.
On average, a drunk driving arrest in Michigan costs about $15,000, including court costs, legal fees, bail, towing, license fees and increased insurance rates.
Law enforcement officers from more than 165 agencies conducted stepped up enforcement aimed at curtailing drunk driving during the Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown Dec. 16-Jan. 2. This resulted in 7,334 traffic stops and more than 3,800 citations or arrests, including 108 for other alcohol- and drug-related charges such as open intoxicants.
The Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) coordinated the effort which was funded with federal highway safety grants in 26 counties. In addition to the 308 drunk driving arrests, 175 other misdemeanor and felony arrests were made. Officers also issued 91 seat belt and child restraint, 649 speeding and 360 uninsured motorist citations. Three stolen vehicles were recovered, 317 drivers were found to be driving on suspended licenses and 171 fugitives were arrested during the enforcement effort. During a similar effort last year that included 35 grant-funded counties, officers made 9,462 traffic stops and arrested 356 drunk drivers.
“Drunk driving is not tolerated in Michigan,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “Those motorists who made the poor decision to drive while impaired will be paying the price in 2012 and beyond.”
Preliminary reports from the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center indicate 15 people died in traffic crashes during the recent Christmas and New Year’s holidays, with four of those deaths involving alcohol. Three of those killed were pedestrians and one was a snowmobiler. This is an increase over the 2011 holiday periods when 11 people died in traffic crashes. Four of those deaths were also alcohol-related.
Grant-funded counties included: Allegan, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties.