Berrien County Sheriff’s Department initiates impaired driving enforcement campaign

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, October 23, 2018

BERRIEN COUNTY — The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning to get impaired drivers off the roads and help save lives.

The high visibility national enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” runs from Oct. 18 through Nov. 4. During this period, just like at any other time, local law enforcement will show “zero tolerance” for impaired driving.

Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce impaired driving on the nation’s roadways.

Those who plan on enjoying fall activities like tailgating and football games should plan for a sober driver to get them home safely.

During this two-week enforcement period, law enforcement officers from approximately 100 agencies in Michigan will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.

In 2016, an average of one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in this country. Thus 10,497 individuals were killed in 2016 in drunk driving crashes nationwide.

Between 2011 and 2016, the month of October in Michigan saw the third highest number of alcohol-involved fatal crashes. And the fourth highest number for drug involved fatal crashes.

In Michigan, and in every state, it is illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher.

Impaired driving represented 45.7 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017.

In 2017, there were 470 alcohol and drug related traffic crash fatalities in Michigan.

A national roadside survey of alcohol and drug use by driver found that nearly one in four weekend drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect driving skills. Make a plan to get home safely, authorities said.

A Driving while Impaired conviction can cost $10,000 in attorney fees, fines, repairs, and lost time at work.

In Michigan, a first-time offender convicted of impaired driving faces up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, six points on a driver’s license, and up to 180 days with a suspended license, restricted license possible after 30 days.

Anyone who refuses a breath test is given a one-year driver’s license suspension.

The extra enforcement is paid for with federal traffic safety funds administered by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.