DETROIT (WWJ) – Motorists who don’t want to ring in the New Year with a police siren should designate a sober driver for their holiday countdown parties.
More than 165 law enforcement agencies will continue stepped up drunk driving enforcement during the final week of the “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” enforcement campaign through Jan. 2.
The holiday enforcement initiative began Dec. 16 and is being paid for with federal traffic safety funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning.
Motorists should expect increased patrols in the entire tri-county area, as well as several other counties throughout the state.
Officers will be out looking for tipsy drivers and those who aren’t wearing their seatbelts in downtown Detroit, Romulus, Plymouth, Garden City, and several other Wayne County cities. In Macomb County, extra patrols will be out along Gratiot, Groesbeck and Hall Road. In Oakland county, the extra patrols will be out in West Bloomfield, Waterford, Southfield and Farmington.
During last year’s Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods, 11 people died in traffic crashes. Four of those deaths were alcohol-related. In 2010, there were 283 alcohol-related traffic deaths, a decrease of 5 percent from 2009.
Although the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths declined last year, crashes involving alcohol are eight times more likely to be fatal. Alcohol-related fatalities still make up almost one-third of all traffic deaths.
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. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested with a .17 BAC or higher.