St. Clair Shores Police: Drive sober this holiday

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 21, 2020

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Police want to make sure residents and visitors finish out the summer safely by being free of all intoxicants before getting behind the wheel.

St. Clair Shores Police Traffic Lt. Joseph Heythaler said the department is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from Aug. 14 to Sept. 7, which means there will be zero tolerance for impaired driving.

Ten people throughout the state of Michigan died in traffic crashes related to alcohol during the 2019 Labor Day holiday, and there were 9,787 alcohol-involved crashes in Michigan throughout 2019, with 295 alcohol-involved fatalities.

While St. Clair Shores has not had a traffic fatality in 2020, Heythaler said the Police Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urge people to designate a sober driver before heading out.

For those who don’t think ahead to designate a sober driver, Heythaler said there are so many other options available.

“Now you have ride shares, such as Uber and Lyft, and taxis still, so there really is no reason to drive intoxicated,” he said.

St. Clair Shores is one of 109 law enforcement agencies throughout the state that will be involved in the campaign, which is paid for through a federal grant from the Office of Highway Safety and Planning.

“Obviously, our goal here is to save lives, not just writing tickets ... to educate the public,” he said.

Enforcement times will differ depending on the day, but there will always be at least one officer conducting the enforcement throughout the city at all times, with perhaps more officers doing so on weekends.

It’s not just alcohol that can affect a driver’s abilities on the road, either.

“Also now with the marijuana, the effects of marijuana, people smoking and then driving — that’s illegal also,” he said. “Any person using even prescribed medications and driving could affect their abilities, depending on the medications ... (and) any of those combinations together.

“Those also affect your judgment, coordination and reaction time.”