Editor's Note: Michigan Auto Law attorney Steven Gursten recently published this post on his site and has given Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch permission to republish it.
As December’s National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month wraps up, I would like to share some great information from the Farmington Hills Police Chief Charles Nebus, on what the city is doing this holiday to crack down on drunk driving.
Q. What types of initiatives does the city have planned for the holiday season this year to address Drunk Driving Prevention?
A. The Farmington Hills Police Department is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s impaired driving initiative, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Officers are scheduled throughout the holiday season to specifically target drunk drivers.
Q. With the implementation of the state’s “super drunk ” law in 2010, are your officers seeing a positive impact from these more strict laws in terms of less accidents and fatalities?
A. We have seen a decline in traffic crashes and car accidents involving injury, however fatal crashes have remained consistently low. As medical marijuana usage is increasing, our contacts with individuals who have recently used it have also increased; this includes the drivers of vehicles. It is likely a very dangerous trend as it is not as readily detectable as alcohol use and its influence will impact drivers many hours after use. The law prohibits driving with “any” amount of marijuana in a driver’s system, as opposed to alcohol which has clearly defined levels. See the Michigan State Police website for more information.
Q. With news stories this past summer about synthetic drugs such as K Spice and Bath Salts, have your officers seen a rise in “drugged driving” incidences?
A. Our officers have not. The Department took a zero-tolerance approach to this issue and in June this year, we worked with the Oakland County Health Division and asked local businesses for their pledge not to sell K2 or synthetic drugs. This was a very successful program and all the businesses that were contacted pledged not to sell these drugs.
Q. What initiatives or enforcement actions does the Farmington Hills Police Department employ year round to combat those threats to public safety and hopefully reduce the incidents of drunk and drugged driving even further?
A. The Department has always had a strong focus on enforcing drunk driving laws. Our department consistently participates in national and local enforcement initiatives. Officers are also provided opportunities for training in the area of drunk driving as it becomes available and some officers are trained as “trainers,” providing even more opportunities to officers. We also work with the courts to support programs such as Sobriety Court, where one of our officers is dedicated as liaison for the program. Here is further information about the 47th District Court, its fines and programs.
To read more from Steven Gurston, go to http://www.michiganautolaw.com/