Sara Swanson

Heightened drunk driving enforcement through Labor Day

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In 2016 there were 271 alcohol-involved traffic fatalities and 32,610 drunk driving arrests in the state. The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office will conduct stepped-up drunk driving enforcement as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from August 18 through September 4.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will also include stepped up seat belt enforcement. Buckling up is the most effective method of staying safe in the event of crash. According to an observation study, Michigan’s seat belt use rate rose from 92.8 percent in 2015 to 94.5 percent in 2016.

Michigan law considers persons with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater to be driving drunk. Penalties for the first offense can include up to 93 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500, with enhanced penalties for BAC of 0.17 or above. Convicted drunk drivers may have their license suspended and are subject to an additional $1,000 penalty under the driver responsibility program for two consecutive years.

Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall. Children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.

During last year’s enforcement effort, Aug. 18-Sept. 5, 2016, 450 drunk/drugged drivers were arrested and 4,610 seat belt and child restraint citations were issued.

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