Drive sober or get pulled over

A statewide drunk-driving enforcement campaign announced Thursday gets a jumpstart this evening with a crackdown on impaired driving in Grand Haven.
Becky Vargo
Aug 15, 2013

Officers from 155 police departments across the state will participate in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which continues through Labor Day.

"Everyone should be on notice that law enforcement officers are serious about stopping and arresting drunk drivers," said Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, during a press conference outside the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department in West Olive.

This year's campaign features a rolling billboard showing the front half of a police car connected to the back half of a taxicab. The caption underneath says: “Been drinking? Choose your ride.”

Prince said officers want people to realize that a ride in the police car costs between $10,000 and $15,000, when factoring in legal fees and other costs of a conviction, while a ride in a taxicab may only be $20.

When drunk drivers get behind the wheel, they take everyone's lives into their hands, Ottawa County Sheriff Gary Rosema said.

"If you choose to drive drunk, law enforcement officers will choose your ride," he added.

Scheduled high-visibility enforcement for impaired driving and seatbelt use will take place in 26 Michigan counties in the next couple of weeks. The impaired driving crackdown in Grand Haven starts at 9 tonight.

During last year’s enforcement effort — held over the same time period — police in Michigan arrested 344 drunk drivers, and issued 4,587 seatbelt and child restraint citations.

Officials noted that in 2012, 342 people died in Michigan as a result of alcohol and/or drug-related crashes — a 7 percent increase from 2011.

Prince noted that someone in the United States dies in an impaired driving-related crash every 53 minutes.

Rosema said first-time drunken driving offenders can get up to 93 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. The jail time and fines increase with a higher blood-alcohol content.

A person is considered drunk if his blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or higher.

More information is available at michigan.gov/msp and nhtsa.gov.

 

Comments

ghjhs

That's right DO NOT go down town Grand Haven and have dinner and a drink,you ARE BEING WATCHED!

Hannah

I feel for all the ER staff this weekend, as you know they end up being the drunkards' baby sitters, taking away from the people who truly need ER care! Friday night is going to be a busy one!!

rukidding

I don't want to be on the road with drunk drivers and would hate to see anybody get hurt. I also don't think harassment, and in many cases entrapment, is a way to treat our citizenry either. If someone is driving erratic, by all means let’s check it out. To sit down the block from a restaurant, or bar, and just stop people without them showing signs of driving impairment is absolutely wrong. Setting up road blocks...Really?

GHJames

I must have not read the same article as you. Have you ever seen a roadblock / drunk driving checkpoint in the State of Michigan? Where does it talk about sitting outside of bars or roadblocks? Entrapment would be the cops buying you drinks and then giving you the keys. Anything else is just your own poor decision. Last I knew the police had to have a reason to pull you over, wheather its speeding, a broken tail light, or being all over the road. If you happen to be drunk on top of that, then shame on you. What this town REALLY needs is more free overnight parking downtown so people are not more concerned about a stupid parking ticket than doing the responsible thing.

Ransacked

Well put. This is a great use of money and Ottawa Countys finest, Theyre putting their lives on the line to get the awful seatbelt criminals off the streets. They should stand a little prouder on Monday knowing they put a big dent in crime. Take notice real criminals; you have nothing to worry about this weekend, unless of course your seatbelt is undone.

Vladtheimp

Right on target! Since there have been studies that distracted driving - specifically, reading e-mail and texting, are more likely to cause accidents than drinking and driving, things being equal the police should set up roadblocks outside of businesses, government agencies, and schools to thwart this crisis - MACT (Mothers Against Citizens Texting).

But that ain't going to happen - the issue isn't preventing accidents; the issue is: the liberal bluenoses campaign against alcohol (except how much they can extract for taxes), and control of the population by gubmint - they could set up roadblocks anywhere in the name of "public safety."

GHJames

So by this logic: Domestic assaults are more likely to result in a homicide than a robbery so police should make no effort to seek out robbers and arrest them? The fact is that drunk driving (As opposed to "drinking and driving") is an activity which puts everyone on the road at an increased risk of injury or death and it is against the law. As long as none of our rights are violated I don't see why this irks people. There are no roadblocks in Michigan and have not been for as long as I remember. Police need a reason to pull you over even if their intention is to see if you are drunk.

Vladtheimp

I also don't know of sobriety checkpoints in Michigan, and I should not have said "roadblocks", I should have said "targeting areas around bars and restaurants" but the logic is the same - if the police were really interested in public safety they would target places where young people would likely be driving and texting (like schools). That said, laws that have so reduced the percentage of alcohol in the body to constitute DUI that when a couple goes out for dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, the driver can be criminally charged for a taillight violation are ridiculous. The law should focus on catching the habitual drunk driver and ensuring that he or she doesn't endanger anybody in the future.

GHJames

How does a cop differentiate between the guy who is drunk driving for the first time and the guy who does it three times a week? Is it not just as dangerous an activity in each situation? The math goes something like your blood alcohol level goes up .02% for every 12oz beer/ shot/ glass of wine you drink and your body metabolizes .015% per hour. Using these numbers as a general guideline you would have to drink 4glasses of wine to reach the .08%. If it takes more than an hour to drink those then you would have to drink a 5th glass to keep above the .08%. Is .08% too low? Possibly, but when was the last time you had 5 drinks with your dinner and thought it was a good idea to jump in the car right afterwards and drive? I don't imagine many people drink five glasses of any beverage during most dinners.

GH55

So, if we don't do it habitually, you think we should all be allowed to drive drunk?
Since it is clear that everyone does not exhibit the same level of individual responsibility and respect for their fellow citizens, we live in an organized society that chooses to provide some level of control and adherence to laws.
It seems the only ones that are whining about the "control" are the ones that don't seem to follow the law. I don't have any burned out tail lights so I don't have to fear a criminal persecution by the "gubmint"! Oh, I don't drive drunk either!

meisterblue

This is a great plan! Make it happen year round instead of the last two weeks of summer. Distracted drivers dialing & talking on cell phones, texting and doing other things but paying attention to their driving also should be pulled over and ticketed, they are a danger to others as well!!!

PeopleAreAmazing

If you don't drink and drive - you have nothing to worry about. If you do - your opinion on this shouldn't count.

gordbzz231

booze is so cheap, its everywhere, concerts, car races and every sport you can imagine, its heavily advertised, its the all american thing to do, lets get the fools drunk then have a sting operation on holidays to catch them, we need more money, lol, glad i quit 25 years ago and stay home on heavy traffic weekends

Say no to new taxes

Is it about traffic safety or money? If it was about traffic safety you wouldn't have people still holding drivers licenses that have had multiple DUI convictions. The lawyers love DUI charges since the average person will have to spend around $10,000 to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether. Go into court without a lawyer and watch what happens, you're going to be riding the bus for a long long time.

GHJames

Everything you say is true, but the cops are out there trying to keep people safe and have nothing to do with the penalties or lack thereof. One I know once said he did not care if the person got convicted, sent home in a cab, or the charges got thrown out as long as he got to them before someone got hurt and took them off the road.

Wingmaster

"....high-visibility enforcement for impaired driving and seatbeat..." as opposed to what? Do we normally have low visibility enforcement!

Whatever, it does sound harrassing to me.

I think it would be perfectly acceptable for cops to sit on routes for big bicycle event rides for high level enforcement of traffic laws at stop signs and such. Too many are becoming hood ornaments for some reason! I have seen just as many reports on those type of accidents as drunking driving on these pages. Maybe the group (DOOR) Drivers Own Our Roads can help fund this campaign;-/

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