DETROIT (WWJ) - Police are stepping up patrols aimed at stopping drunk drivers during the week leading up to Halloween.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning said federal funds are helping more than 60 agencies in 15 counties to conduct extra patrols starting Thursday and ending on Halloween.
Last year, officers arrested 261 drunk drivers the weekend prior to Halloween, Oct. 28-30, and 99 of those motorists had a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher.
“Unfortunately, spooky costumes aren’t the scariest things about the holiday anymore,” OHSP Director Michael L. Prince said in a release. “It’s the fact that too many drivers don’t plan ahead before they start drinking and make the roads dangerous for others.”
Eleven people died in traffic crashes during the Halloween enforcement period last year, and two of those deaths involved alcohol. Five motorists who died were unbuckled, while two were pedestrians.
Agencies in the following counties are participating in the Halloween drunk driving patrols: Allegan, Calhoun, Berrien, Chippewa, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Ottawa, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. Because Halloween is in the middle of the week, patrols will begin the weekend before the holiday.
Police say a motorist convicted of drunk driving can expect to face consequences including up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, 360 hours of community service, 180 days driving suspension and six points on their driver’s license. In addition, drunk drivers will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs.
Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher, including increased fines, longer jail time, a one-year license suspension and the possibility of a restricted driver’s license with the use of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.
Police also want to remind drivers that anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension.
For a list of planned Halloween patrol dates, times and locations, visit www.michigan.gov/ohsp.