Drive Sober Christmas Campaign Nets More Than 200 Drunk Drivers

Remember back during the holidays when Michigan State Police and others strongly encouraged us to Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over? Well, a considerable number of people apparently felt that message was for everybody but themselves, because the nearly three week long crackdown netted more than 200 drunk drivers, an alleged murder suspect, and a lot of other problematic drivers on the open roadways of the patrol zone.

Officers from nearly 100 police departments, sheriff’s offices and Michigan State Police (MSP) posts increased patrols across the state during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown between December 13th-and-31st looking for impaired drivers.

Michael Prince, the Director of the Office of Highway Safety Planning for the Michigan State Police, says, “If you are impaired by any substance you shouldn’t drive,” and adds, “Motorists were asked to make responsible decisions as they celebrated the holidays and to have a plan in place to get home safely. Unfortunately, the holidays were not a merry occasion for everyone.”

Preliminary reports indicate officers made 8,674 traffic stops, arrested 204 drunk drivers, issued 883 speeding citations, and issued 84 child restraint citations. In addition, officers made 93 felony arrests during that enforcement period.

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In one instance, a trooper from the Michigan State Police Post at Marshall stopped a vehicle for suspected drunk driving. In the process of removing the driver from vehicle the officer noticed a large caliber handgun on the driver. Both the handgun and the driver’s sweatshirt had blood on them from an unknown source. Later that day, the Battle Creek Fire Department responded to an active residential fire and discovered a deceased body inside who had been shot multiple times and died before the fire started. Upon investigation, it was determined that the driver stopped for suspicion of drunk driving committed the homicide with the weapon found inside the vehicle. The person is currently in custody on several felony charges.

In another instance, officers from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a wrong-way driver on US-131, which led to a pursuit. The driver was arrested on a felony drunk driving charge and driving on a suspended license.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Michigan’s drunk driving law contains a zero-tolerance provision for drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system. The same penalties for drunk driving also apply to those convicted under the zero-tolerance drug provision.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign was supported with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the Office of Highway Safety Planning.