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Posted on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

Police plan stepped-up drunken-driving patrols for holidays

By Cindy Heflin

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is warning holiday revelers not to get behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink. If they do, they run the risk of being arrested by officers participating in stepped-up drunken driving enforcement starting Friday.

The sheriff’s department, as well as police from Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, Pittsfield Township, Saline, Chelsea, Milan and Northfield Township, put more than 200 hours into drunken-driving enforcement between Dec. 16 and Jan. 2.


The sheriff's department and other local law enforcement agencies will have stepped-up drunken-driving enforcement through the New Year's holiday.

Federal funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning will pay for the stepped-up enforcement, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

In Michigan, a motorist can be arrested for drunken driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. A drunken-driving conviction carries with it penalties including court costs and fines, increased car insurance rates, legal fees and $2,000 in driver responsibilities fees, the release said.

Crashes involving alcohol tend to cause more serious injuries than those involving sober drivers, the sheriff’s department said. Police suggest holiday revelers designate a sober driver or call a cab to get home safely if they’ve been drinking.



Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

More people probably drive high than drunk yet they do not have their lives destroyed and careers ruined by the draconian measures applied to drunk driving. A young person who gets a drunk driving ticket is subjected to the cost of a college education in fines, legal fees, etc. even if no one is hurt. Their lives are ruined before they even begin just for being young and stupid. Assault and battery involves actually hurting someone willfully and most get off with a slap on the wrist for the first offense. Drunk drivers are subjected to tens of thousands of dollars in cost including lawyers, fines, fees classes, driver responsibilty fees, drug testing, increased insurance, loss of employment, inability to hold a job or go to school due to lack of transportation, etc. Going to jail and paying a fine should be the penalty but the state has tapped into a VERY lucrative income stream and is not about to give it up. I know a number of young men who have given up hope at ever getting a license, holding a job, or going to school.So they become depressed, do drugs, drink, and end up getting state aid to exist all for drinking and driving as stupid twenty year olds. I'm not denying the impact that people face due to drunk drivers who injure and kill (those guys should go to jail) I'm just amazed at how high the penalty received for having three drinks can be and nobody seems to care about those folks. BTW I don't drink..........

Roy Munson

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.



Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:03 a.m.

Michigan has some of the highest DUI arrest rates in the nation, don't look for the annual holiday fund raisers to end anytime soon. As far as actually "helping" those that need alcohol, that would be the end of revenue for the state of Michigan, if people aren't given the opportunity to fail, money cannot be made.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

Drunken driving is a Very Bad Thing. No argument here. But -- how about stepped-up enforcement on Driving Stupidly in general, which is also a Very Bad Thing? I don't see a lot of that. 1) Speeding. Yes, Mr. /Ms. Speeder, I'm talking to YOU! It poses exactly the same hazard as drunken driving. Try to think about it analytically (if you're even capable of that). In either case, it substantially reduces the safety margin ahead of the car in which the driver can effectively respond to adverse circumstances that may arise. In the case of the drunken driver, judgement is impaired and reflexes are slowed. (Not getting all moralistic about this -- just stating facts.) In the case of the speeder, it greatly increases the distance ahead of the car in which one CAN NOT STOP. To repeat, for emphasis -- CAN NOT STOP. (Basic Newtonian Physics, anyone? That was discovered only about 400 years ago.) 2) Tailgating. Happens way too often. And is infuriating to the driver in the leading car. (When people read about these 50- or 100-car chain-reaction collisions on a freeway, do they ever wonder just WHY this might have happened? Not enough, it would seem.) 3) Running stop signs and red lights. I see it all the time. People can -- and do -- get killed that way. (It behooves one to be vigilant at any intersection, which sort of falls into the category of Driver's Ed 101.) 4) Pulling into roadways with NO regard for cross-traffic that has the right-of-way. (Hey, I'm the only car on the road, right? Duh!) 5) Making left turns directly in front of oncoming traffic. (If there is no actual contact between vehicles, then that's enough clearance, it seems. Shudder!) I'm guessing (with no evidence whatsoever) that most of these Driving Stupidly offenses are probably committed by drivers who are not under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. They're just being stupid.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

"1) Speeding. Yes, Mr. /Ms. Speeder, I'm talking to YOU! It poses exactly the same hazard as drunken driving." Really? And in your next statement you talk about thinking analytically? And speeding SUBSTANTIALLY reduces the safety margin? And it GREATLY increases the stopping distance? And I suspect that all of this applies regardless of BAC or actual speed, right? I'm not pro-drink-driving, I'm anti-bad-information.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 4:57 a.m.

I agree with all your points. What makes me laugh about the whole argument that these enforcements are just for revenue generation, is the fact that people around here drive so poorly all the time, they don't need special enforcements for revenue generation. I commute to Detroit daily and aside from the things you listed, people driving in the left lane and not moving over when the right lane is empty should be ticketed as well.

johnn Hutchins

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.

@bob car companies are responsible for there products link below. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And I am all for people taking responsibility for there actions, if a bar serves people more then 4 drinks they know they are probably over the limit. So making bar's responsible for there action is to much? @RiceBrnr So it would be to much for you to take a breathalyser to insure there are zero Drunks on the road? You would rather those drunks continue to drive around and possibly kill or injury someone. But take their cars and sell them to pay for more over time for cops, and keep the revenue coming in until they change the law to .0000001 so after you use your mouth wash you get a DUI's. How about they make the punishment even harsher lets cut off there hands, they can't drink if they have no arms. Great plan!!! (insert sarcasm) @MrEd Yes if you fail the test your car will not start for 8 hours, so no more DUI's.... And @ all three of you I said do one of the 5 things listed, and it will make things safer for us all.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

funny reductio ad absurdum applies to everyone elses argumetns but yours? Sorry no. YOU laid out some suggestions. I specifically addressed the ones not targeted at the drunks. Yes I have a problem when I am inconvenienced &quot;in the name of (insert cause here) that has nothing to do with me. So taking it to extremes as you did let us also invoke history...remember the Japanese interment camps? Well a few were inconvenienced for the safety of the rest of America, right? No problems there...


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

@John Hutchins - how about individual responsibility for one's actions? If I drink I am responsible not to drive. If I drink so much I don't know if I am ok to drive maybe I should drink less. Making bars responsible ...let's make car manufacturers responsible too. People need to take responsibility for their own actions.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

This is GREAT news! It's to bad they don't have the time to step up patrols ( not just for the holidays) but on regular days and nights. If those that are caught are using a cell phone or texting, add a couple grand to the fine. The other day I had to drive up on a curb to get out of a lady's way that was talking on the phone.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

And we all know the plural of anecdote is data... right? /s


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Don't forget to punish those who are yelling at their kids, changing the radio station, looking at something along the roadside, eating, smoking, etc..........

Mr. Ed

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:14 a.m.

Will they be giving themselves a breath test before hitting the road?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

wow, all those items that impact all the people BESIDES those actually committing the crimes. I don't drink but I need an interlock on my car? I think not. I hope everyone of these maniacs are busted and their vehicles are confiscated and sold to pay for catching more of them.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

A the &quot;but it's for the betterment of all&quot; argument.. What was the road to hell paved with again? "If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching." ? William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C.S. Lewis


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

@Riceburnr - 2 drinks is enough to put a 120 pound person at 0.08. I just looked it up. @cinnabar - By that logic, shouldn't we constantly search people on the street who look shady? If the risk is low enough - and the number of drunk driving accidents is lower than things like texting while driving - shouldn't the punishment fit the crime? So which is it, make anything remotely dangerous punishable by massive illegal. If you wish to use reason-based punishment, then you accept some people will get screwed by the system, but it's for the betterment of all.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

&quot;So professional and financially responsible adults who unfortunately get caught after enjoying 2 drinks after work are &quot;maniacs&quot; and deserve such treatment?&quot; I bet if they killed your wife, husband, parent, child, or god forbid your entire family &quot;Maniac&quot; would fall short.


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Your responsible adult premise does it not?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Your reasoning is flawed. 2 drinks after work does not equate to .8 BAC nor should it rise to impaired driving unless the following conditions are met: 1 the imbiber is serioualy undersized i.e. a dwarf or midget 2 the drinks are seriously oversized Either way i you are nabbed for impaired driving and your BAC is too high...well that negates


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 7:06 a.m.

So professional and financially responsible adults who unfortunately get caught after enjoying 2 drinks after work are &quot;maniacs&quot; and deserve such treatment? Is this a crime? Do they deserve to pay 2000 due to exercising responsibility?

johnn Hutchins

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

If they actually cared for peoples safety rather then profit this would be a good idea, but they don't.... How To Actually Fix This..... 1. Make bars responsible also... $2,000 fine for the bar that lets any patron leave the bar intoxicated and drive. 2. Make all bars provide a shuttle service for any patron who consumes 4 or more drinks. 3. instead of looking for DUI's drivers, police should drive intoxicated people home. Its called protect and serve, not collect, and a prey. 4. Instead of federal dollars used to fuel overtime, use those dollars for a late night bus service. 5. Make mandatory alcohol ignition devices on all cars in Michigan. Now I know that's asking a lot of or State and Local Government to do.... But I would bet if they did one of these 5 things the DUI accident rate would drop in half after 1 month, and after 1 year it would be closely under 1 % of total accidents. But there is no revenue if they stopped DUI's, and they would never give up a great cash cow!!!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Craddle to grave gov't control? Is that what you really want?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

As to your &quot;fixes&quot; 1. so how do the bars check BAC? Breathalizer? Would the patron have to sign a waiver of rights? How would it be enforced? Would be patron be &quot;detained&quot; by bar staff and held until police arrive? What would the charge be, leaving the scene of the bar? What if his intent was to walk to a motel, but he had his keys in hand which included vehicle keys as well as hotel keys? Constructive intent? 2. How much, do you think, that would cost the bars. I thought &quot;we&quot; were trying to keep people employed in the state 3. You expect police, or any publicly funded service for that matter, to drive people home? what if their home is two or three counties away? I know I've been to visit friends that far away and I was responsible enough to not drink so I could drive home. 4. How about we just go back to the old standard of &quot;personal responsibility&quot;. 5. Because driving in Michigan isn't costly enough? There are easy by-passes for those systems. Who pays for the system and installing it? I don't discredit your thoughts on wanting things to improve but it is not any level of Gov't's job to regulate the responsiblity of the individual. Hammer them if it happens sure, but will it really deter people when by their actions they are proving deminished reasoning abilities?


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

&quot;But I would bet if they did one of these 5 things the DUI accident rate would drop in half after 1 month, and after 1 year it would be closely under 1 % of total accidents.&quot; If that's your bet I'll take all that action you want to give away! Really have the police drive all the intoxicated drunks home? There are not enough cops in the state to pull that off. LOL! hA hA