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Drunk driving crackdown kicks off in West Michigan

Eight local counties step up enforcement for July 4th holiday

Motorists wishing to keep their independence this July Fourth holiday need to designate a sober driver as a statewide drunk driving crackdown kicks off July 1, with 156 law enforcement agencies, in 26 counties, participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown.

In 2012, 342 people died in Michigan as a result of alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes, a 7.2 percent increase from 2011. To help prevent these needless tragedies, law enforcement agencies 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.

The effort runs through July 7 and is paid for with federal funds administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).  Grant-funded counties in West Michigan are Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren.

“Don’t let your Fourth of July end in an arrest, said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director.  “Make smart decisions and plan ahead to ensure a safe way home. If you drive drunk, you will be arrested.”

During the 2012 July Fourth holiday period, four people were killed in four traffic crashes. Although none of the crashes were alcohol-related, one crash involved a pedestrian, one motorist was unbelted and a motorcyclist and an ORV rider were not wearing helmets.

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.

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


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