MICHIGAN — Labor Day weekend is coming up and law enforcement officers from local police departments, sheriff’s offices and Michigan State Police are partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning to get impaired drivers off the road.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Drive High, Get a DUI” will run from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6, featuring increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, as well as extra enforcement and increased officers on the roadway.
“The Labor Day holiday is a time for fun and community as families and friends gather for a final, late-summer celebration,” OHSP Director Michael L. Prince said in a news release Monday. “Unfortunately, there are people who will make the wrong choice to drive impaired, needlessly putting themselves and others at risk. The law enforcement officers participating in these campaigns are dedicated to enforcing our traffic laws and keeping our roadways safe. We need people to understand that it’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober.”
During last year’s Labor Day holiday period in Michigan, there were more than 1,800 crashes, officials say, including 15 fatal ones.
Of those 15 fatal crashes, eight involved alcohol and/or drugs.
In Michigan, it’s illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, though drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired.
Drivers face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher.
Anyone who refuses a breath test for the first time is given a one-year driver’s license suspension.
For a second refusal within seven years, it’s a two-year suspension.
Last year, 161 alcohol-impaired drivers involved in crashes in Michigan were killed, and 63 of those drivers were not wearing seat belts, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
Also in 2020, almost 42% of fatalities on Michigan roadways involved alcohol and/or drugs.
Officers during last year’s August enforcement campaign made 181 Operating While Intoxicated and 35 Operating Under the Influence of Drugs arrests.
The impaired driving campaigns are supported with federal traffic safety funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and are coordinated by the OHSP.