STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) – Stepped-up police patrols targeting drunken drivers are planned this month around the Fourth of July holiday, across Michigan.

Law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will conduct increased drunken driving enforcement in all 83 Michigan counties during the crackdown, which runs through July 12.

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[Where and when will police be patrolling? Have a look at the preliminary enforcement plan, HERE].

“Driving while impaired is completely preventable as are the deaths and injuries that result from this behavior,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director, in a media release.  “Our publicity efforts are designed to forewarn the public that additional patrols will be out in force, and they should make alternate arrangements for transportation when drinking.  There is absolutely zero tolerance for impaired driving in Michigan.”

Meantime, a movie-themed effort highlighting the importance of designated drivers is called “Who’s Your D.D.?” and features movie-style posters with the slogan  “Be The Designated Driver, Be The Hero” encouraging Michiganders to be available to serve as sober designated drivers.

Anne Readett of the State Office of Highway Safety Planning said they wanted to tap into the summer movies’ superhero genre to educate people on the value of designated drivers.

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“We were looking for a way to tie that in and it seemed like it made a very nice tie-in when we’re talking about designated drivers and drink driving — that the person who is the designated driver is in fact a superhero,” Readett said at a news conference Wednesday.

During last year’s Fourth of July crackdown, the state says 236 motorists were arrested for drunk driving as a result of extra patrols.  There were 12 traffic deaths over that holiday period; a quarter of those fatalities involved alcohol, OHSP said.

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.

Stepped-up enforcement over the holiday weekend is funded as part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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