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Ugly sweaters. Holiday parties. Family gatherings. The holidays are a busy time to celebrate the season with family, friends and co-workers. But it is also one of the deadliest times of year for drunk- and drugged-driving fatalities. That is why law enforcement officers, in partnership with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), are working to encourage safe, sober driving this holiday season.
The national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from December 13 -31. During this period, law enforcement officers will show zero tolerance for drunk and drugged driving statewide. Increased enforcement, along with increased messages about the dangers of impaired driving, aim to drastically reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the roadways.
“Driving while impaired by any substance – alcohol or drugs – is illegal and can have deadly consequences,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “It’s important for people to understand they need to make the smart decision to drive sober. If you’re out celebrating this holiday season, or any day, it’s crucial to plan a safe way home.”
In Michigan, impaired driving represented 45.7 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017. There were 937 fatal crashes in Michigan in 2017, of which 320 (34.2 percent) were alcohol-related. The percentage of alcohol-related fatalities was approximately 11.6 times higher than fatalities in all other crashes.
In addition, there were 174 drivers who tested positive for cannabinoid drug use involved in 169 motor vehicle crashes in 2017 in Michigan. Of those crashes, there were 144 fatalities and 156 persons were injured.
Nationally, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017, equating to one person killed every 48 minutes. In December 2017, 885 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver.
Officers during this campaign will be on the look out for motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impairment of any kind while driving is illegal. If a person chooses to drive while impaired, they can be arrested for a DUI and could face jail time.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.