Drunken driving crackdown kicks off across Michigan; bars to use basketball-themed coasters


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SOUTHFIELD, Michigan — A drunken driving crackdown featuring stepped-up patrols kicked off Monday across Michigan, as more than 1,100 bars and restaurants plan to use special drink coasters with a basketball-themed message to promote the use of designated drivers.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is partnering with the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association on the effort. Officers from police departments, sheriff's offices and state police in 26 counties will conduct the federally funded drunken driving patrols through April 7.

The kickoff of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign comes a day after the field for the men's NCAA basketball tournament was announced and urges people to "pass the keys." The crackdown also coincides with many high school and college spring break periods and St. Patrick's Day.

"Just remember to ... make the right choices about getting home safely," Michael L. Prince, director of the Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in a statement.

In 2014, more than 2,200 people in Michigan were arrested for drunken driving during the NCAA Tournament time period, official said. More than 450 of those arrests were made by grant-funded law enforcement agencies during last year's stepped-up patrols.

Extra patrols are planned in Allegan, Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Eaton, Genesee, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties.

Details of planned enforcement efforts are being posted on the state's website to help discourage drunken driving. Such grant-funded enforcement targeting suspected drunken drivers is part of Michigan's Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.



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