As the Michiganders take advantage of the summer vacation, the end of the season is near and Labor Day is not so far away.
Police across Michigan, including state police, have launched several campaigns to target drunk and impaired drivers.
So far this year, up to Aug. 17, state police had reported 673 road fatalities in Michigan, up 74 from around the same time last year. The state also recorded 3,253 serious injuries, 369 more than last year.
“The end of summer is traditionally Labor Day and is a time for friends and families to enjoy poolside parties, backyard barbecues and other activities,” reported the Michigan Department of Transportation in a statement. “Sadly, Labor Day weekend is also one of the deadliest times of the year in terms of impaired driving deaths.”
The agency said several campaigns were launched this week by state police and the Road Safety Planning Bureau, working with law enforcement agencies across the state. Campaigns include Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over; Drive high, get a DUI; and if you feel different, you drive differently.
The initiatives started on Monday August 16 and continued until September 6.
Along with the increase in messaging about the dangers of impaired driving, motorists will see increased enforcement and more officers on the roads.
Last year, during the Labor Day holiday period, the state recorded 1,833 accidents, including 15 fatalities, eight of which involved driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. And in the year 2020, according to data from UM’s Transportation Research Institute, 161 alcohol-impaired drivers were killed. Of these, 63 were not wearing seat belts.
“Labor Day is a time of fun and community as families and friends come together for one last celebration at the end of summer. Unfortunately, there are people who will make the wrong choice of driving while impaired, putting themselves at unnecessary risk, ”OHSP director Michael L. Prince said in a statement. “The law enforcement officers participating in these campaigns are dedicated to enforcing our highway code and ensuring the safety of our roads. We need people to understand that it is up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober.
Also in 2020, 42% of Michigan road fatalities involved drug or alcohol use.
During the Labor Day 2020 campaigns, police arrested 216 people, including 181 drunk and 35 under the influence of drugs.