Police step up drunken, drugged driving enforcement

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 9, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With this month containing a holiday perhaps best known for its connections to alcohol, it may not be a surprise to see more St. Clair Shores police on patrol in March.

“This month is drunk driving awareness month,” said Traffic Sgt. Jenna Conrad. “We will be conducting OWI (operating while under the influence) enforcement periods throughout the entire month of March.”

Conrad said a state grant pays for the extra officers to be out on the road strictly looking for those driving under the influence at several times during the year, and March is one of those times.

But what drivers sometimes don’t realize, she said, is that prescribed medications can often impair you just as much behind the wheel as alcohol.

“If they say ‘may impair ability to drive,’ you have to pay attention to that because just because you’re given a prescription for something doesn’t mean it exempts you from being arrested or being stopped,” she said. “If it’s impairing your ability to drive, then you’re still responsible to not drive.”

Conrad said other municipalities across the state will be having increased enforcement as well, so it’s best to designate a nondrinking driver if you’re going out or call a commercial taxi service. It’s not just on St. Patrick’s Day that police see problems either, she said. 

“Monitor your levels. It doesn’t take as much as people think,” she said. “That holiday is a pretty big issue. We’re finding arrests throughout the entire week — it’s not just specific to that weekend.”

St. Clair Shores police have been paying more attention to impaired drivers in general, Conrad said, and that is reflected in the number arrested.

“I feel that our numbers have gone up in regard to arrests for drunk driving or drugged driving,” she said. “We just suggest if you see anyone you feel may be intoxicated (driving) to call 911.”