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Southfield Police launch holiday impaired driving crackdown

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published December 18, 2018

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SOUTHFIELD — Whether eggnog or mulled wine is your drink of choice this holiday season, the Southfield Police Department is asking residents to make sober driving arrangements before their seasonal sipping.

Through Dec. 31, the Southfield Police Department, in partnership with the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will be running a crackdown on impaired driving.

During the enforcement, called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, police will have a zero-tolerance policy for drunken and drugged driving. The goal of the program is to increase awareness on the dangers of driving while impaired while also reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries.

Along with drunken driving, acting Southfield Police Chief Nick Loussia said driving under the influence of narcotics and marijuana are also considered impaired driving.

Loussia said that under the law, drivers over the age of 21 cannot have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater. For drivers under the age of 21, a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or greater is illegal. Additional penalties will also be applied if the driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent or higher.

“It’s important for people to make a decision to have a means of transportation prior to drinking,” Loussia said. “They need to make that decision about not drinking and driving before they even start drinking.”

Loussia said officers will be upping patrols on busy local roads.

“We’ll be patrolling the major roads in our city, and also the roads that we have a high number of accidents, like Telegraph and 12 Mile,” Loussia said.

According to a news release from the Southfield Police Department, in 2017, around 10,874 people were killed in drunken driving crashes in the U.S. That equates to about one person killed every 48 minutes.

In December 2017 alone, 885 people died across the nation as a result of drunken driving crashes.

In Michigan last year, impaired driving represented 45.7 percent of traffic fatalities.

“We understand that during the holidays, people are busy checking items off their to-do list and attending parties,” acting Police Chief Brian Bassett said in a written statement. “We need people to remember — it’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober, not just during the holidays but all year long. Stay safe and stay sober on the roads.”