Police report increase in alcohol-related crashes, drunken driving in Bloomfield Township

‘We’re going to enforce it to the max’

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 1, 2023


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Police in Bloomfield Township are reporting a rise in drunken drivers and alcohol-related crashes within the township.

The spike started in July, with the Police Department responding to and investigating five separate motor vehicle crashes where alcohol was determined to be a contributing factor July 10-23. The crashes resulted in six injuries.

“That’s not something we see every week or every two weeks, so for us … we’re going to continue to watch this and we are not taking it lightly,” Officer Nick Soley said. “We’re going to enforce it to the max.”

Tens of thousands of people are arrested annually in Michigan for alcohol-related driving offenses, according to the Michigan State Police.

In Michigan during 2022, there were 9,331 alcohol-involved crashes (with 322 fatalities) and 2,452 drug-involved crashes (with 249 fatalities), according to the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center.

Soley said drunken driving continues to pose a grave threat to the safety of the public.

“Most of the crashes that we have seen lately, fortunately, we’re talking minor injuries and no fatalities, but nonetheless, the people injured in these crashes typically are not the ones under the influence of alcohol,” he explained.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and dangerous.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration  — or BAC — of 0.08% or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired.

The Bloomfield Township Police Department, Soley said, is committed to enforcing operating while intoxicated laws and holding offenders accountable for their actions.

Punishment for a drunken driving conviction for first offenders with a BAC of below 0.17% include up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, having their license suspended for up to 180 days, and six points added to their driver’s license.

Consequences for first offenders with a BAC of 0.17% or higher include up to 180 days in jail, up to a $700 fine, up to 360 hours of community service, up to one year license suspension, six points on a driver’s license and mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program.

“Your first drunk driving is a 93-day misdemeanor. Second is the same, and then it goes up from there. If you do cause injury or death, there’s additional charges,” Soley explained.

People who plan to drink should designate a sober driver, use alternative means of transportation, such as ride-sharing services, or stay overnight.

“Driving impaired is a choice. We are encouraging people to make the right choice and find a sober ride home if they plan on using an impairing substance,” Katie Bower, the director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in a press release.

Anyone who witnesses a potentially impaired driver should contact 911 with as much information as possible, including license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and location.

“Get us a location, a vehicle description, a license plate if you can, so we can come and watch the behavior, determine if a traffic stop is necessary, and then determine what’s going on with that driver,” Soley said. “Not every one of these is a drunk driver or a drugged driver. We have come across people that are having medical emergencies or their insulin or their sugar is dropping, so if it’s so obvious that you notice, as a driver, that’s reason to call us and let us check it out to make sure our roads are safe.”

For more information, call the Bloomfield Township Police Department at (248) 433-7755.