Law enforcement officers encourage motorists to be vigilant and safe as they ring in 2020
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Law enforcement officials hope years of education and putting people on notice that there will be extra patrols on the road will allow New Year’s Eve revelers to have a safe and sound holiday.
Crawford County Sheriff Shawn M. Kraycs said that years of education from law enforcement has helped create safer roads as people ring in the New Year.
In Crawford, there are a lot of house parties, and a lot of people stay home.
“I believe that we do enough education and have done over the years, that it’s one night that people really pay attention to what they’re doing in regards to driving, because they know that there are extra patrols out there,” Kraycs said.
Patrolling for intoxicated drivers throughout the year adds an extra level of safety during the holidays as extra eyes are on the roads.
According the annual drunk driving audit for Michigan, 116 arrests were made for drunk driving in 2018 in Crawford County, nearly the same of 119 arrests made in 2017. Those figures come from all law enforcement agencies patrolling Crawford County.
For people that do venture out to clubs, restaurants, bars, and brew pubs, Kraycs encouraged them have a designated driver lined up.
“That’s one of the few nights of the years that you see people with designated drivers more than any other time of year,” he said.
Establishments in Grayling have a charter bus to get patrons home.
The Gray Rock Pub and Grub, as an example, is hosting Roaring Twenties to Ring in 2020 New Year’s Eve Party on Tuesday, December 31.
Patrons “are invited to a roaring 2020 New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Party. They can dress as a gangster, or silent screen star, come as a flapper, or come as you are,” according to graylingchamber.com. “Drink specials, DJ, give always, party favors, snack bar at midnight, free taxi service within.”
“Have a designated driver, or call a taxi, or a friend,” Kraycs said.
Depending on how many patrols the Michigan State Police have on duty, the Crawford County Sheriff’s may plan for extra patrols between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. as people ring in the New Year.
“Christmas and New Year’s Day are fun, busy times to celebrate with family and friends. It is also one of the deadliest times of year for drunk- and drugged-driving fatalities. This is why law enforcement officers, in partnership with the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), are encouraging safe, sober driving this holiday season,” according to www.michigan.gov. “The national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign runs from December 18 to January 1. Increased enforcement, along with statewide messages about the dangers of impaired driving, aim to drastically reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the roadways.”
“The holidays should be an enjoyable time to spend with loved ones,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “It’s important for people to drive sober this holiday season – and every day. If you’re impaired by any substance, you shouldn’t drive.”
“To reinforce this message, OHSP has aired a new ad titled ‘Toe Tags.’emphasizing the dangers of drugged driving. The ad can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=HezEPwoKpxk,” according to www.michigan.gov.
“In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed December as Impaired Driving Prevention Month in Michigan,” according to www.michigan.gov. “In 2018, one person was killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver on the nation’s roads. In Michigan, of the 905 fatal crashes in 2018, 31.7 percent involved alcohol. During last year’s Christmas holiday, there were 13 fatal crashes, with nine crashes involving alcohol. Over the New Year’s holiday last year, there were nine fatal crashes, with one crash involving alcohol.”
“Officers during this campaign will be on the look-out for motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impairment of any kind while driving is illegal. If a person chooses to drive while impaired, they can be arrested for a DUI and could face jail time,” according to www.michigan.gov. “The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the OHSP.”