The end of the summer is traditionally marked by the Labor Day holiday and is a time for friends and families to enjoy pool parties, backyard barbecues, and other activities.
Sadly, the Labor Day holiday weekend is also one of the deadliest times of the year in terms of drunk-driving fatalities.
That is why this year, law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices, and the Michigan State Police are partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) to get drunk drivers off the road and save lives during the national enforcement campaign Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over which runs from August 17 – September 3. During this period, increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with extra enforcement and increased officers on the roadway, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving.
“Families suffered tragic consequences throughout the year because drivers made the wrong choice to drive drunk,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “The law enforcement officers participating in this campaign are dedicated to addressing these tragedies. We need people to understand – it’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober.”
Over the 2017 Labor Day holiday period, in Michigan, 15 people died in traffic crashes. Of the 15 people killed, more than a quarter, 26.6 percent, involved alcohol.
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 believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher. Anyone that 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 is a two-year suspension.
A total of 359 people died in 320 alcohol-involved traffic crashes in Michigan in 2017 – the highest number of fatalities from alcohol-involved crashes since 2006. During last year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement, officers arrested 310 motorists, of which 62 were charged under the state’s high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law with a BAC of .17 or higher.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.