December 19, 2008 - Stay off the 'Naughty List' - Don't Drive Drunk
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but be sure the merrymaking doesn’t end in tragedy or arrest by designating a sober driver this holiday season.
Law enforcement officers in 34 counties are taking part in a holiday drunk driving crackdown across the state; officers will also be on the lookout for seat belt violations during daytime enforcement zones.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) is coordinating seat belt and drunk driving enforcement by providing an estimated $500,000 in federal traffic safety funds to boost patrols by more than 200 agencies beginning Dec. 19 and running through Jan. 4.
Failure to wear a seat belt could result in a $65 ticket and a DUI arrest will cost offenders thousands more. A drunk driving conviction carries with it an assortment of penalties, including court costs and fines, increased car insurance rates, legal fees and $2,000 in driver responsibility fees.
The 34 counties receiving federal traffic safety funding for overtime patrols include: Allegan, Barry, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Mackinac, Midland, Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Tuscola, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
“The holidays should be a pleasant time for family and friends to celebrate. Help keep your holidays happy by not drinking and driving and plan ahead by designating a sober driver,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director.
Party hosts can help combat drunk driving by serving non-alcoholic “mocktails” for designated drivers at holiday gatherings and make sure all guests leave in a cab, with a sober driver or spend the night.
In spite of progress made in reducing drunk driving in Michigan, nearly 35 percent of traffic fatalities involve alcohol and/or drugs. Over the 2007 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, nine people were killed in alcohol and/or drug-related traffic crashes.
A list of participating grant-funded law enforcement agencies can be found at www.michigan.gov/ohsp.
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