Law enforcement cracks down on drunk driving ahead of Saint Patrick's day and March Madness

Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 17:24:53-04

Law enforcement officials are cracking down on drunk drivers, especially during Saint Patrick's day and March Madness celebrations.

The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign starts March 16 to March 29.

Normally during these campaigns, you hear from police officials about making sure you drive sober.

Today, hear from man who thought he was capable to drive after a few drinks and that night changed his life.

Chuck Larson said, "I could've killed us. I blacked out at a light. I guess God had his hand on my shoulder. I ended up taking down a light pole."

More than two years ago, Chuck got behind the wheel with his then 15-year-old son after having a few drinks at a bowling alley.

"I thought I was fine, obviously I wasn't," he said. "I got caught drinking and driving but I got lucky I didn't kill nobody or myself or my son."

Law enforcement officials say Chuck's story is a reminder to make smarter choices when you are out drinking.

The campaign kicks off Thursday and goes through to the end of the month.

According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, there is an uptick in drunk driving crashes this time of year, with St. Patrick's Day and March Madness celebrations.

Lt. Mike Shaw explained, "Go out there and look for these drunk drivers and hopefully we can get them off the streets before they injure somebody or kill somebody."

In 2015, 34,000 drunk drivers were arrested in Michigan.

"Surprised at the amount of designated drivers that we actually arrest out there because they didn't fulfill their individual responsibility," Shaw added.

Besides possible jail time, drunk drivers face thousands of dollars in fines and attorney fees.

Chuck added, "Call a cab, call Uber, call a friend, call your wife, just don't get behind the wheel, you never know what can happen."

The program is funded by federal grant money.