The results are in, and according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and Michigan State Police posts across the state arrested 349 drunk drivers during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. The stepped up drunk driving and seat belt enforcement began Aug. 18 and ran through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
According to preliminary reports, there were nine traffic fatalities during the 2016 Labor Day holiday period. Only one of those deaths involved alcohol. This is a significant decrease from the 2015 Labor Day holiday period when 15 died in traffic crashes and nearly two-thirds of the crashes involved alcohol.
“Many law enforcement officers spent the holiday weekend away from their families to make our state a safer place, said Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) Director Michael L. Prince. “The preliminary report of a decrease in drunk driving fatalities is a good indication their efforts are having a positive impact.”
Reports also indicate officers issued 3,911 seat belt and child restraint citations and made 141 drug arrests during the nearly three-week effort. Of the 349 arrests for drunk driving, 53 drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .17 percent or higher. In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign was supported with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by OHSP. Grant-funded impaired driving and seat belt enforcement are part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.