Labor Day no excuse to take vacation from safe driving

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 31, 2015

 Age-appropriate booster seats or car seats are required for kids younger than 8 years old or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches.

Age-appropriate booster seats or car seats are required for kids younger than 8 years old or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches.

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METRO DETROIT — The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and police agencies statewide are in the middle of a Labor Day campaign to punish drunken driving and other irresponsible driving behavior.

From Aug. 21-Sept. 7, police promise to be on the lookout for people who appear to be driving drunk or who are not wearing their seat belts as part of a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

According to OHSP spokeswoman Melody Kindraka, this season is a good time to enforce the law because many people are on the move, typically to take road trips or move into their college dorms.

“Labor Day is sort of the unofficial end of the summer,” she said. “It’s a time when you see more people out on the road ... getting in one last summer vacation.”

Kindraka said the campaign would involve the joint efforts of the Michigan State Police, county sheriff’s departments and local police departments. She said the campaign’s purpose is to make sure that motorists arrive to their destinations safely. She said the campaign would be advertised and promoted.

“This is a statewide effort,” she said. “All 83 counties will have enforcement in them (from) more than 150 police departments.”

According to state officials, during the Labor Day holiday period last year, six fatal traffic accidents occurred in Michigan, and five of those were alcohol-related.

The state reminds drivers that drivers under age 21 may not drink any alcohol and get behind the wheel under a statewide zero tolerance policy. For drivers of drinking age, they are not allowed to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above.

In addition, police are allowed to arrest drivers who appear to be impaired even if their blood alcohol level is below that 0.08 limit. A first-time offense with a BAC of 0.17 or higher could result in more severe punishment, according to the state.

Meanwhile, the OHSP says seat belts are required for drivers and passengers in the front as well for as any passenger who is age 15 or younger. Age-appropriate booster seats or car seats are required for kids younger than 8 years old or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches. Children younger than 4 years old must be placed in the back.

Lt. Dave Smith of the Sterling Heights Police Department said his department is participating in the Drive Sober campaign.

“We have overtime detail scheduled for the holiday weekend, and of course, Labor Day is going to be one of them,” he said.

Learn more about the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning by visiting www.michigan.gov/ohsp.

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