LANSING (WWJ) – Luck may belong to the Irish, but it won’t help Michigan motorists who don’t designate a sober driver over the next few weeks.
Law enforcement agencies in 26 counties are conducting more than 13,200 hours of extra patrols to arrest drunk drivers now through April 8.
Th increased enforcement period includes the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, high school and college spring break periods, and St. Patrick’s Day.
Police say a five-year review of crash data indicates both alcohol use and lack of seat belts play a significant role in fatal and serious injury crashes in March and early April.
Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said if you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re out rooting for your favorite team at the local sports bar or celebrating the luck of the Irish at the corner pub, if alcohol is part of the festivities make sure you designate a sober driver to get you home safely,” he said in a statement.
In 2012, 2,488 people were arrested for drunk driving during the NCAA tournament time period. Of those, 789 were arrested under the state’s high blood-alcohol content (BAC) law with BAC’s of .17 or higher. More than 400 of those arrests were made by grant-funded law enforcement agencies during last year’s drunk driving crackdown.
In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a 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.
Law enforcement officers from 155 agencies will be participating in the crackdown, including Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.