GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan State Police and area police agencies and sheriff departments are increasing patrols on the lookout for drugged or impaired drivers.
It's all part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled over campaign which is underway and runs through January 1 of 2020.
Sgt. Mike VanDenBosch, with the Traffic Services Division of the Ottawa County Sheriffs Office, says his department is one of many taking part.
"People are out there obviously consuming alcohol and now recreational marijuana at the same time so we see these crashes increase over the holidays," he said. "Ottawa County does have drug recognition expert officers working our county and they will have these new instruments with them in their patrol car," VanDenBosch said.
MSP says while Christmas and New Year’s Day are fun, busy times to celebrate with family and friends, it is also one of the deadliest times of year for drunk-and drugged-driving fatalities.
This is why law enforcement officers, in partnership with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), are encouraging safe, sober driving this holiday season.
Increased enforcement, along with statewide messages about the dangers of impaired driving, aim to drastically reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the roadways.
“The holidays should be an enjoyable time to spend with loved ones,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “It’s important for people to drive sober this holiday season – and every day. If you’re impaired by any substance, you shouldn’t drive.”
In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month in Michigan.
In 2018, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads.
In Michigan, of the 905 fatal crashes in 2018, 31.7 percent involved alcohol. During last year’s Christmas holiday, there were 13 fatal crashes, with nine crashes involving alcohol. Over the New Year’s holiday last year, there were nine fatal crashes, with one crash involving alcohol.
Officers during this campaign will be on the look-out for motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impairment of any kind while driving is illegal. If a person chooses to drive while impaired, they can be arrested for a DUI and could face jail time.