LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) – Law enforcement officials from 144 agencies in 26 Michigan counties are increasing patrols through April 7 to combat drunk driving.
The time period includes the NCAA basketball tournaments, high school and college spring break periods, and St. Patrick’s Day.
Extra patrols are planned in Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Wexford counties.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is coordinating the effort which is supported by federal traffic safety funds.
This year, OHSP is partnering with the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) in Lansing and The Rapid in Grand Rapids. During the effort, CATA and The Rapid buses will feature signs encouraging people to catch a sober ride.
A five-year review of crash data indicates both alcohol use and lack of seat belts are significant factors in fatal and serious injury crashes in March and early April.
In 2013 during this same time period, 2,271 people were arrested for drunk driving, according to a news release. Of those, 671 were arrested for having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .17 or higher.
In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested with 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.